This morning I visited Seaford Swamp. I'd never been there before, so I consulted the Melways carefully. With my sense of direction, I knew I was bound to get lost. I'd been tempted to go there because Sean Dooley reported that there were Freckled Duck present. Admittedly, that was a couple of weeks ago, but I can hope. Freckled Duck often hang around for a while.
The sky was grey and I feared it would rain, so I grabbed my waterproof jacket and threw it into the car. Of course I was right: I did get lost. Eventually I found the road and could see the swamp. However the parking area promised in the Melways simply did not exist. I pulled over to the side of the road and set off on foot, bravely leaving my jacket in the car.
After a kilometre of admittedly very easy walking, I had a bird list of 19 species, but there was no sign of waterfowl or indeed a bird hide. The "swamp" appeared to be an empty paddock.
I saw a gate with a couple of elderly codgers walking along a poorly defined track. I hurried after them through the stubble. They were charming and very helpful. They told me that the bird hide had been demolished, however, there was a viewing platform in Austin Road. They advised me to go back to my car and drive there. And so I did. When I reached the car, thanking the weather gods that it hadn't rained, the car was quite wet. It must have been a very localised shower. How lucky was that.
I drove directly to the viewing platform, and from the base, admired teal, ducks, swans, coots and swamphens. Then I walked onto the elevated platform and saw, three beautiful Freckled Duck! I looked further and found three more. Not the numbers that Dooley had seen, but one will do to get onto my list.
I was ridiculously pleased with myself. I'd got lost, and wasted over an hour walking along the wrong track, but I'd dodged the rain, and I'd seen my target species. That's a success in my language.