A day of highs and lows, with hours spent standing around waiting for birds to show, a few memorable minutes when they did, some classic missed opportunities and a few good pictures.
The day started on the Arun River, at the marina, just south of the Littlehampton bridge. We had gone there to look for the Osprey. We didn't have to wait long. Just as we got out of the car it passed over our heads probably no more then forty feet away. Great views but the cameras were still packed away in the car boot.
We chased it down river, only to find that it had circled round over the golf course, to head back to where we started from.
Back to the bridge and we set up to wait for its return and for some picture opportunities. Two hours later and we were still waiting. With nothing happening, boredom was setting in so we decided to head over to Pagham Harbour to look for the Wryneck. Cameras packed away, we started down the bank, only for the Osprey to reappear and make another low pass over us. Another great view but by the time we had a camera locked on it was disappearing into the distance.
The Wryneck was a lot easier. We arrived at the Severals to find it sitting out on the top of some brambles. It had its back to us most of the time but these were far better views than you usually get of a Wryneck. We were also told that it had been showing well for most of the morning.
After a few minutes it flew into cover but this looked really promising. We settled down expecting the bird to put in regular appearances and to give us some great picture opportunities. Two possibly three hours later we were still waiting. We had occasional glimpses of the Wryneck feeding in the long grass or flying between bushes but nothing out in the open.
Eventually we tired of this and decided to head back to Littlehampton for another try for the Osprey. As a result, yet another hour was wasted with nothing to look at.
If we were just birders we could have moved on, happy that we had seen the birds and got our year tick, but as a bird photographer there is always a better picture waiting to be taken. Eight hours standing around waiting for those better picture with just a three or four minute slot actually taking them. It sounds a bit extreme and it's not for everyone, but hey, I look at the pictures now and for me it was all worthwhile.
All I have to do now is catch up with that Osprey.