We started off at the North hide where the previous day two Jack Snipe were reported as "showing well" (always a little careful of what that actually means). Anyway, one of the RSPB staff did manage to find one 'bobbing' away on the ground and while it was a little distant, it was at least visible.
|Jack Snipe, Minsmere, Suffolk|
|Cropped shot of Thayer's Gull|
|Same shot less cropped|
It did occasionally look up giving slightly better views of head and bill and with better light and closer proximity you could see that the 'shawl' was made up of small brownish concentric almost crescent shaped markings.
Again the bird did stand up a few times and walk about - it even stretched its wings once or twice but all I got was shots of the under-wing without it being sufficiently spread to see the inner webs.
It was now 4pm and we had spent a combined 6 hours or so looking at this bird. We hadn't eaten since early morning either. We headed back to the car-park to have lunch and meet James Lowen who was on his way. By the time we had done all that we decided that we would be unlikely to improve on the views we had and needed to start getting back to our wives and families also. We left James as he hared away towards the south hide while we packed up our bags and baggage. Later in the evening shots emerged on Facebook from Craig Shaw which showed the pattern of the spread wing with the black from the primary tips running into the inner webs - this seemed to strengthen the case for Thayer's Gull and Birdguides etc upgraded it from 'Probable' to 'Mega'.
So, compensating for a failed twitch in December 2014 to Wakefield (see Blyth's Pipits and Thayer's Gull twitch) and much like last year's Citril Finch (see Citril Finch - North Norfolk) - it was a case of right place and right time. Obviously the record will need to run through the rarities committee but its credentials look very good. Congratulations to the finder Brian Small and it must be said how good it was to see how birders worked together sharing thoughts, details, internet images and articles, 'back of the camera' shots and video stills to try and piece together the evidence that this was indeed an excellent candidate for Thayer's Gull - so good to see that and in the pre-internet age - how quickly if at all would the conclusion have been reached as to what this bird was?
So a great day out at Minsmere and I didn't even get to mention Sand Martin, Caspian Gull, Glaucous Gull, Bittern and nice views of Pintail and summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit.
|Black-tailed Godwit, Minsmere, Suffolk|
|Pintail, Minsmere, Suffolk|