July 1979 Dungeness
I'm walking across the open shingle between the bird observatory and the RSPB reserve. The day is hot and still and I am in a mellow, calm mood. As I make my way over the pebbles, a bird appears in the corner of my vision. It is an adult Little Gull, not twenty feet above me, its purity of whiteness contrasting with a black underwing and hood. It positively floats over me, an apparition. I am at one with it and my surroundings. 32 years later I can still see this bird as if it were with me now. I have never - and I mean never - felt so at ease and peace. As it flew away I stood for a while and took in all that was happening to me.
March 1983 Dungeness
A still sunny evening, one of those cherished warm early spring days. As I look out over the shingle my senses are hit on two fronts - a strong waft of coconut and almond gorse blossom, and the call of a Grey Partridge. Both merge to become something very special. As with the Little Gull, I at once realise that this is a special moment. I almost want to burst into tears.
I have had other moments, with landscapes, when I have felt elated. But these two examples are my birding equivalent of nirvana. You cannot go out and look for them, they will just come along, very rarely, when you least expect it.