In the final weekend before lockdown returns, spending a blissful couple of hours with this wonderful bird was a joy - and a privilege.
I am most fond of Lesser Yellowlegs, a North American wader that gets blown here a handful of times per year. I love the way they turn a redshank into a stilt. Back when we lived in Argentina, I loved their willingness to forage among beer bottles in a roadside ditch in Buenos Aires. I am smitten with them for the fact that they are the only current BBRC rarity of which I have found more than one example in the UK. Above all, I love them for my wife calling one that we found (at Stiffkey in Norfolk; it went on to winter) a 'Yellow Lesserlegs' when the first twitcher arrived and asked where the bird was and whether it was still showing.
Despite this ardour, I didn't rush to Cley when one was found there last week. Come Sunday, however, I was suffering from cabin fever and decided on a quick visit on grounds that it was 'photographable' and 'coming quite close'.
I hadn't clicked quite how close it was approaching though, until actually viewing it for myself. It was routinely just eight metres away and several times came to within four metres. I could only just focus on it and had to remove the 1.4x converter that normally stays locked to my 500mm lens. Many birder-photographers use a 1.6x crop camera body, but mine is full-frame, which effectively puts me 60% further away than, say, Canon 7d-toting folk. Even so, I was getting frame-filling shots.