Pauline say's ... Armed with some 'insider information' (thank you Susan!) we left our caravan early under fabulous bright blue skies and set out for the North Lakes and a date with some Purple Sandpipers ... these have been 'bogey birds' for me for 40 years or more. Many's the time I've gone to places where others have seen and got cracking images but when I tried it the result was a big fat nil ... So it was more with hope than expectation that I travelled!
We arrived found the spot and settled down to wait for the 14.15hrs high tide. We expected to see the birds fly in from the the surrounding area as the tide covered the feeding grounds - but - realisation dawned after a couple of hours and the brief sighting of a wing-tip fluttering, that the birds were already just off the end of the little harbour wall on some broken rocks and cement blocks. I crept to the end and found 25 or 30 purple sandpips looking back at me! There followed several hours of cat and mouse: a fisherman and his son came to the end to fish and the birds moved enmasse to the left of the wall ... we followed gingerly. A family completely ignored us and walked past and between us to the end and the birds moved enmasse to the right side of the wall - another gingerly creep after them. With a lot of patience I ended up 20ft off about a dozen the rest being just out of sight on my right. Three other lots of folks tried to come down but by this stage I was not about to lose my 40 years waited for opportunity so I held my hand up in a STOP gesture and pointed to where the camera was looking. No one came past after that tho I did hear a young woman with a rangy dog complaining that she wanted to WALK TO THE END ... her boyfriend had a camera and he turned away - to her credit she finally followed him still complaining and I bet she's still calling me not fit to burn - but I say thanks for not spoiling something I had waited so many years to have right in front of me .... I got my pics - I also got a numb bum and a dead leg but it was worth it!
And where was Ian in all this? Trailing behind me nursing a poorly 600 lens (the ball bearings have gone under the collar of the tripod arm attachment so he was trying to balance on the tripod and a bean bag ....) Where they ended up was good for me but too close for him and he finally muttered and disappeared back to the car ... now he knows how it feels when he's getting shots but I can't reach with a smaller lens - or worse I take something and think its fab and then he comes along with frame fillers (for me to edit) and I wonder why I went in the first place ... swings and roundabouts my mate!!!