I had a rather action packed weekend. I spent Saturday in Abergavenny at the Welsh Ornithological Society AGM touting my wares, at the kind invitation of Derek Moore. I sold pathetically little - but had enormous fun - camped in a room with the BTO who were doing a roaring trade in Christmas cards (so that's mine sorted for this year - very attractive Waxwings topically).
Sunday dawned with passable if windy weather, so Des McKenzie, David Lindo, Jack and I went on a planned shoot at Kensington Gardens. We had decided to do a short piece about inner-London birding for streaming on the site (on the principle that birders making a programme for birders ought to be rather better than Oddie on Autumnwatch). David is such a pro - so we got oodles done, and my programme might be rather longer than I initially anticipated. Des is a star, and filled us with fascinating facts about birding such a busy site.
One of the perils of KG is the fact it is infested with enormous rats that do rather well on leftover McDonald's and kebabs. I expressed a desire to film one of the critters, and Des immediately tempted one out of the ornamental shrubbery with a Rich Tea biscuit. They are unbelievably tame, and I got lots of excellent footage of a particularly rotund beastie nibbling crumbs in a cute fashion.
We did a few PCs (pieces to camera), and GVs (general views) and some walky-talkies and noddies and the heavens opened. Camera gear and British weather is generally incompatible - so we legged it for the bandstand to find it locked up - and therefore took refuge under a tree near the Round Pond.
Luckily it didn't last long - and we popped back out to film a PC about last year's wintering Mediterranean Gull (which interestingly came from the Elbe). We were just prepping the birds with application of further Rich Tea biscuits, when David shouted, "Med Gull!". And lo! It was true. With remarkable timing there it was. Last year's bird was back. Two days earlier than last year, and beautiful, ethereally white amongst the Black-heads. I'm embedding a frame-grab of the bird taken last year. We had a wonderful day, a proper giggle. Hopefully you'll see the results soon.