The frustrations of being a bad sleeper and a naturally early waker-upper came home to roost badly this morning. No matter how badly I sleep I always wake up at around 5am and get up shortly after. Last night the clocks went back an hour to bring us into British winter time, that meant when I woke up at my normal 5am, a glance at the clock showed that it was now actually 4am. Great, most normal people will say, turn over and go back to sleep for an extra hour, unfortunately once I'm awake that's it, I can't fall back to sleep again, I get up. So I laid there and thought oh well, if everything's gone backwards by an hour that means instead of having to wait for it to get light at 7.15, this morning it'll be 6.15 and I get to the reserve earlier in the day - wrong!! As I lay there in the darkness I could hear the constant mournful sound of the fog horns out in the Thames Estuary, a couple of miles away. Oh no, and a glance out of the window showed that the fog was so thick I could barely see across the road, I'd only been awake a few minutes and my day had already got off to a bad start.
Normally I quite like being out on the marsh in the fog, it has a real Dickensian feel about it, sounds carry, birds appear from nowhere, but this morning I wanted to be there just as the first glimmer of light appeared in order to see what standard of shooting the wildfowlers produced re. the geese again. Now that wasn't going to happen and so I hung around indoors until the paper shop opened, got the papers, read one, and then by 8.00 the fog was beginning to lift and so I set off. By the time I got to the reserve we briefly had a glimpse of the sun before the fog began to slowly thicken again. I wandered across to the sea wall hide and joined two birdwatchers in there for a chat. They advised that they had passed the wildfowlers as they made their way to the hide and that they were carrying dead geese and so it looks as though the geese are going to take a daily pasting all the time that they continue taking the flight line that they do.
Meanwhile the birdwatchers were hoping for a glimpse of the Crane that has been frequenting the reserve for a few weeks, though not while I was talking to them, and were carrying two of those huge long lenses for photography that are popular these days. They looked terribly heavy and it must be a labour of love to carry them around for any length of distance, although I guess the results make it all worthwhile. As I came round the back of the reserve a while later I could hear the Crane calling and amazingly it had flown in and landed in a field quite close to the photographers and so they must of been very happy in the end.
Going past Capel Corner along the Harty Road the Great White Egret was walking about among the Mallards in the now shallow Fleet there and I pulled up to snatch a photo. On lifting the camera it immediately flew off and so I was left with just the Mallards and behind them a load of Coot. It's still only 11.45, I feel like I've already been up for a whole day, the fog has lifted to leave grey skies and I think it is going to be a long day.