Twenty years ago today, I heard about a sum plum White winged Black Tern at West Thurrock, Essex and being a bit short of cash, time and generally being tight I decided to attempt to see if I could see the bird from Greenhithe, Kent ! In attempting this long distance spotting across Old Father Thames I bumped into Paul Larkin who I informed that maybe we should try our luck out at Swanscombe, I knew the security guards and access was granted to the riverfront.
On arrival the White winger was showing incredibly well just offshore from the jetty at Swanscombe and sadly in those pre digital days I didn't have a camera at hand, but I did have a rather large and heavy mobile phone!
Just as I was on the phone to Andrew Moon at Birdline South East I noted with Paul another tern coming towards us just offshore, dark above, pale below. I knew it was either a Bridled or Sooty but which one?
a phone call to Andrew solved any ID problems followed by several expletives!! The bird fed just offshore from us for a while, the mobile was hot with calls from others in Essex that could see us watching the bird!
BRIDLED TERN, a real mega then it was off upriver towards the Dartford Bridge and lost to view. Later on I found out that several birders connected with it, a second for Kent, first for LNHS and it was later at Hanningfield, Essex.
A memorable day and I still remember Paul's parting words.....................see you in BB
Sure enough our names did appear in the BB report for that year
Happy days !