After yesterdays 1 hour birding trip my wife asked if I wanted to go out this morning as I didn't have a lot of time yesterday, well you don't say no to offers like that! Unfortunately the weather forecast this morning was for heavy rain and gale force winds, not the ideal conditions for watching birds and photographing them. I left home at 7am and as it was still not quite light had a drive to Reculver to see if any Woodcock would come into roost at a site I watched last year. I only stayed 10 minutes but saw nothing. Not sure where to go I then drove over to Grove Ferry where I met up with Martyn at the ramp for a while and we watched the morning wake up. not a lot to see but the rain arriving but we did note 4 Marsh Harrier, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Wigeon, c200 Teal, c600 Lapwing, 1 Little Egret, c10 Fieldfare and 10 Linnet. Martyn moved on to the hides and I left and drove over to Hampton pier where I hoped to catch up with the Purple Sandpipers that are wintering there. On arrival it was blowing a gale and there was some drizzle in the air but luckily it stayed pretty much dry, just a shame it was so dull and cloudy. A quick scan of the tideline revealed a few Turnstone and Oytstercatcher and as I looked underneath the pier on the concrete a small wader flew out on landed in some rocks in front of the pier. As the tide was out I walked out to the rocks and found 2 Purple Sandpiper feeding amongst them. I approached slowly and sat down on some rocks and spent the next 45 minutes having great views as the Sandpipers fed c4 metres away, seemingly not bothered about my presence. I rattled off a number of shots and depsite the high 800 ISO's, the results were no too bad at all, I shall have to return on a sunny day! With some shots in the bag I left them in peace and left for home. Once at home my 'Birdwatch' magazine arrived mid morning and an early Christmas present inside when an article I wrote for the magazine on 'seeing 100 species in a day in the Stour Valley and Reculver' had been published, a nice surprise. I might get out tomorrow if the weather allows, probably not but you never know.