When the whole world and his wife are knee-deep in birds, be they Autumn migrants or eastern vagrants (with a few also coming from the west) it is easy for birders based in places that are not so blessed to get a little peeved. This is especially true if every effort has been made during daylight hours to cover your patch - and particularly if there are few birds to sift through anyway.
Such scenarios break birders' spirits and, after a prolonged bout of little return, can force them elsewhere. This has happened this very week to those gathered at Dungeness. Monday saw a car load leave Kent for that most blessed of bird observatories, Spurn. Maybe it really is in God's chosen county after all. They saw 'the bird', several other 'the birds' and hundreds of viewable migrants to boot. On return to the shingle it was as much as any of them could do to muster up any enthusiasm at all, having been gorging on the ornithological feast that East Yorkshire had dished up.
Today was my turn, as I fled to Cap Gris Nez on the cliff tops of northern France, lured by the promise of NW winds and plenty of bird action. There were four other shingle-crunchers present as well, the second incidence of a mass Dungeness bunking-off in three days. These are indeed desperate times. As it happened, the wind was WNW so delivered a fraction of what we hoped, although this did involve Arctic, Pom and Great Skuas, Sooty and Manx Shearwaters, several hundred Med and Little Gulls, plus 1600 Chaffinches and 100 Skylarks coasting, so hardly an epic fail. But as far as grounded birds went, it was similar to Dungeness, windswept copses, hedges and bushes with barely a crest or warbler to bother the optics.
So tomorrow sees the resumption of flogging the peninsula. I did catch up with a Yellow-browed Warbler yesterday (which also saw 800 Linnets and 160 Alba Wagtails heading NW) so it is not a total dark hole of despair down here. We carry on.