This post has nothing to do with birding in the south-east, but it does show how anything can turn up anywhere, no matter where you live.
On Saturday afternoon, I had a phone call from my 'non-birding' eldest daughter who lives in Llandovery in mid-Wales, a fair way inland from the coast.
She told me she had a strange looking bird nestling under a hedge in her back garden, it was "quite large with a pointy beak, dark grey and white plumage and with webbed feet - what is it, Dad? It has been there all day?"
I had my suspicions but I asked her to take a photo and email it to me, and here it is -
Here in land-locked Surrey, what I would give to get Manx Shearwater on my garden list, in fact, what I would give to get one on my county list!
She later rang me to say that the RSPCA were picking the bird up this morning and would take it to the coast for release after checking it over. My daughter was advised to put the bird in a cardboard box and keep it in their shed overnight.
Unfortunately, my four year-old granddaughter has taken a shine to this bird, so tears are expected when the RSPCA arrive.
The chances are that it originated from Skomer and I have read that many of the Manx Shearwaters that were preparing to head off for their wintering areas off South America had been caught up in a storm off Skomer on the 6th September and had been blown inland, with many being found in mainland Wales, causing a major rescue effort by the RSPCA. Most of these birds are said to be juveniles. Let's hope they make it after their ordeal.
Update: Sunday 11th September.
a.m.: A lady from the RSPCA arrived at my daughter's house to collect the Manxie.
She said they have already picked up 300 of them. They were intending to release them all tomorrow at Minehead but, as the remnants of Hurricane Katia were due to hit the Welsh coast tomorrow, and they feared the shearwaters would just get blown off course again, they are now aiming to release them all a week tomorrow.
My daughter said the bird had been making one hell of a racket at about 4 a.m. this morning and she had expected the neighbours had been wondering what she had trapped in her shed!