Kittiwakes mobbing a Gannet at Troup Head, Scotland (Russell F Spencer)
They said it would be glorious today with a gentle southerly breeze. Potentially ideal conditions for watching migrant raptors from the roof of Tower 42, one of the tallest buildings in London. Well that was the prediction on the weather websites I looked at a week ago.
Of course, I woke up at 5am this morning to grey skies. By the time I got to The Scrubs, an hour later, it was still looking worryingly dull. Was there rain in the air? Later, as I set off for Tower 42 in London's Square Mile it started to drizzle. I felt sorry for the members of the Tower 42 Bird Study Group that were already on the roof getting a soaking and probably not seeing much. When I finally clambered onto the roof at 12.15pm most of the small crowd of watchers had decided to call it a day after only registering just a single Swift.
Now down to three birders, two sightseers and two vigilant although non-birdy security men things continued to look grim. No sun in sight just grey cloud. After an hour of Lesser Black-backs and Herring Gulls the sky began to take on a brighter complection. A message came through on my phone from the London Birders Yahoo site. A adult Kittiwake (a scarcity in Central London) had just been reported from Southwark Bridge. Wait. We overlook that bridge, I suddenly realised. It was all hands on deck searching the Thames with our scopes for a maritime dot. Suddenly, I picked it up as it fluttered to land under the Millennium Bridge. It was a marvelous way to brighten up an otherwise dreadfully disappointing session and a nice site tick too.
Our magical day will come. I am certain of that.