... three days into yearlisting and I've turned into a twitcher. Today we went to Westcliff-on-sea in Essex to look for 'Rossi', the famous Ring-billed Gull who's been wintering there since 2004. On the way, we decided to call in at Pitsea to look for Waxwings - but then I spotted a flock in a roadside tree on the A13, close to a parking layby, and bullied Rob to turn around at the next roundabout. Naturally, when we came back they had gone. So it was on to Pitsea, where we got lost trying to find our way into the big supermarket carpark where the birds had been seen yesterday. However, our convoluted approach proved fruitful, as we found a flock of Waxwings down a side road on the way.
We had a bit of time before we needed to be in Westcliff (I'd read that the best time was 2-4 hours either side of high tide, and today high tide was 11.30ish) so we looked in at the nearby Wat Tyler Country Park. The tide being what it was, there were few waders to see on the creek, but I did add Black-tailed Godwit to the yearlist. This looks like a great place for a birding day, we'll have to come back another time.
On to Westcliff, where we located the coast road and drove along it til we found Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour, the haunt of Rossi the gull, and scored a nearby free parking place by some mad streak of luck. There were lots of gulls floating about in the very calm sea, nearly all of them Black-headed.
Someone put some bread out for the gulls up on the promenade, and I took a look through the bins and thought I spotted Rossi among them. I took a couple of insurance pics and then we hurried over - too late, the melee was all over by the time we were anywhere near.