A teatime message soon got me out of the house and heading straight to Ogston as Dan had seen a Spoonbill. Now this is still quite a rare bird in Derbyshire and one I certainly hadn’t seen at Ogston as the last record was in 1969! However I soon hit a snag, my cars brakes stuck on and I had to turn back homewards and limp along back to base. Curses!
A sharpish turn around into our other car and we were off again, hoping that the bird would stay long enough for us to get there. Cresting the rise and coming out through the wood down towards the old Napoleon we could see the sailing boats were out on the water and I began to doubt the bird would be still there as they were fairly close to the bay where the bird had been seen. Pulling up we grabbed ‘scopes etc and hurried to the viewing gap overlooking Chapel Bay.
Thankfully the bird was still present, and surprise surprise, sleeping on the mud bank. Now I do wonder just how Spoonbills actually stay alive as they seem to sleep for more hours in a day than cats! It was therefore quite nice when the bird woke up after a bit of argy bargy among the Cormorants and Geese. It walked a short way and had a preen before putting its head back under its wing. It did raise its head a couple more times during the time we watched but not much, as is typical. Now I had a terrible time seeing my first Spoonbill, whenever I went to a reserve where Spoonbills were they never showed for me, and I had seen many other much, much rarer birds before I finally caught up with one at Cley in Norfolk. Naturally that was asleep and took me ages to actually see it had a head! Since then I have seen them with increasing regularity and have seen a couple before in Derbyshire, but I do expect them to become much more regular still as they are now making concerted effort to colonise the UK.
Also present were a pair of Common Terns, a Mandarin and a small gathering of Grey Herons looking like crumpled old men standing on the mud.
An awake Spoonbill!