We all marvel at the cryptic camouflage on the Wryneck but it wasn't good enough to save this one from the Sparrowhawk.
I had promised myself that I would do some work around the house on Tuesday but with the weather looking good and with reports from Monday of a Wryneck showing well over at Shooters Bottom I had a change of heart and by mid-morning I was on the road over to the Beachy Head area.
It didn't look very promising, there were a few birders about but no one had seen the Wryneck that morning. I ended up spending the rest of the day with David Gardiner and Paul Snellgrove who were very happy to tell me all about the close views they had the previous day and about all the great photographs they managed to get.
You should have been here yesterday - how many times have I heard that before. You can tell good bird photographers though, even with the great shots they already had, they were back the next day trying to improve on them.
Paul was convinced that the Wryneck had not departed in the night and who am I to argue with him, he has been birding a lot longer than I have and this was his patch. However by mid afternoon it still had not shown and we decided to widen the search area to see if it was feeding elsewhere.
Well, we did find it, but unfortunately the local Sparrowhawk had found it first. The Sparrowhawk had made a couple of passes over us earlier in the afternoon and thinking back on it, I believe I could hear it saying - too late boys I got it before you did, whose the best hunter around here.
So this is what I ended up with and I don't think I can claim it as a year tick.
|Remains of the Wryneck|
and this is the picture I should have taken. A real case of you should have been here yesterday.
|Wryneck - Paul Snellgrove - taken the previous day|
See more pictures on Flickr under icemelter4 and davidgardiner8. Not a great day as far as my pictures go but certainly not wasted, I picked up a lot of tips from a couple of patch experts.