Sue was late - not usual - all sorts of road problems including the inevitable tractor for miles and miles.
Baird's Sandpiper would be a lifer for Sue, Titchwell first stop. It was first identified by Alan Davies of The Biggest Twitch, down from North Wales leading a group for the weekend. I'd originally planned on walking the new trail but, the waders were showing best from the west path.
We tried Island Hide first, where the birds were nearer and the light was good. The north facing end was packed, understandably. Big lenses on tripods, fine. Pushchairs in prime position and taking up a lot of room? No........It could easily have been parked in full view around the corner. Two women sat in the front row didn't even have binoculars......(Bah Humbug!!).
On, to the west bank path, we went. We soon saw the Baird's with its attenuated profile, long wings extending well beyond the tail. It fed on its own, comparatively near for the expanse of the freshwater pool. Excellent scope views so I had a go at digiscoping. The very brisk and cold northwesterly wind shook my tripod like mad, the bright sunshine made viewing anything in the camera screen impossible. I had to focus the scope, stick the camera in and hope - on the principle that if I took enough photos, some would actually have the bird in them. So it proved.
Some 'record' shots (photographers parlance for not good).
There were also three juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and a host of Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits, a few Avocets and sleeping Spoonbills, very few Dunlin and, four vigorously feeding in agitated unison, Spotted Redshank.
Pam had forgotten her lunch, a good reason for buying some delicious rolls and cake from Titchwell. Eaten at Brancaster Staithe before motoring on to Cley and a walk to Pat's Pool where we sat separately, Pam and Sue at one end, me at the other. It was perishing in there, the wind blowing straight in, it was warmer outside. When I located the Pectoral Sandpiper, I looked across, saw Sue's scope apparently on the bird and Pam asking if she'd got it. They didn't see it, the birds all spooked and it wasn't seen on there again. Probably flew to Daukes. A lovely Yellow-legged Gull in summer plumage, yellow eye-ring clearly visible and a curtsying Common Sandpiper were the only additions.