Its been a while since I last made the effort to go on a so called "Twitch", but the lure of some Black-Winged Stilts less than thirty minutes drive got the better of me.
They had arrived on a reserve in Essex known as Vange Marsh, a site I have not previously visited so well worth the effort.
I could feel all the nervous tension rising as I made my way there, if the birds were not on view there was always the opportunity to explore this RSPB reserve for future reference,
so not a wasted trip.
As I walked through the gate, the first Butterfly that I saw turned out to be a Painted Lady, other Butterflies noted were Small White, Green Veined white, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, I should imagine this site would be good for Dragonflies as the season progresses.
There appears to be two main routes to take, a shorter walk out towards a viewing screen, and a longer walk alongside the marsh.
I opted for the viewing screen first and was rewarded with a distant Black-Winged Stilt, a male feeding on a long muddy island in front of the screen.
I watched this fine looking male for about an hour by myself, it seems that the Black-Winged Stilts do not have the same rarity appeal as they used to any more.
And It wasn't till the bird stretched its wings and flew out of sight that another birder arrived, he informed me that there were another two Stilts showing well on the far side of the marsh.
Other birds noted in front of the screen were Oystercatchers, Black -Tailed Godwits and a Green Sandpiper.
After a pleasant walk around the marsh in some lovely warm sunshine I soon came across the other two Stilts feeding reasonably close on the edge of the marsh, the sun was in the wrong direction but I managed to get some more photographs of the Stilts, a male and female.
One attempt at mating in the couple of hours I was watching, and then back to the important task of feeding.
Here's a few photographs of the Black-Winged Stilts, the male with darker markings on the head and neck.
A successful trip with an interesting bird to view and photograph.