Apparently this is my 666th post, and it was very nearly chirpy little waders on the Brigg; all well and good for other occasions, but it would've been a shame not to dedicate this one to something suitably demonic. For once, then, the timing was perfect.
It's been what you might call a challenging month, and birding has necessarily taken a back seat over recent weeks; today, however - despite uninspiring conditions (south-westerlies, mild, low pressure) - it felt good to just get out onto the patch and enjoy whatever happened to cross my path.
After a typically entertaining session on the Brigg end with an inquisitive and characterful gang of Purple Sandpipers (more of them later), I set off back towards the hide, and two very vocal Whooper Swans cruised south overhead (more of them later also). So far, so good, and for the hell of it I tried a seawatch (with zero expectations - midday on a SW is not the stuff of dreams): pretty much the first birds in the 'scope were two small skuas - an Arctic, and surprisingly, a cracking juvenile Long-tailed. More than enough, then, to remind me how lucky I am to have access to such luxuries on my doorstep.
A Snow Bunting and several Twite fresh-in on the slope at the very end of Carr Naze soon followed, and heading back along the path, another Twite flew past me with several Goldfinches, clearly agitated; following it in the bins, suddenly a large raptor appeared in the field of view, seemingly motionless but in fact cruising steadily into the wind and towards me.... pale head, brown belly, white tail, dark carpals - bingo. My first local Rough-leg (and first anywhere in some years), somewhat less-than-annual here, and it's getting closer by the second.