Seeing 'the bird' doesn't always guarantee joy, as I alluded to at the end of my last post. A poor view and nothing more can set all sorts of doubts of in your mind, such as 'was that enough to tick?' through to 'did I actually see the bird?' More than once I've come away from a twitch wrestling the problem of 'to tick or not to tick'. That scenario always ended the same - the knowledge that by asking the question in the first place really meant that the only response could be NO.
Sometimes I've seen the bird really well and felt underwhelmed. Twice this has happened when seeing the rarest of the rare, a first for Britain.The Pallid Swift at Stodmarsh in May 1977 zipped around me within touching distance, but to my untrained eye I really did have to convince myself that the bird really was what the experts said it was. October 1978 saw me on St. Agnes looking at a Ringed Plover that I was being told was a Semipalmated Plover. I'd travelled to Scilly specifically to see it as well. It was a tick, and the mission was accomplished, although if I'd been honest with myself at the time I'd have declared it a massive disappointment.
As much as bowling up on site to immediately see the quarry is the considered ideal, when I did so the overall event became weakened. A little wait, a sniff of disaster made the final ticking (when it came) all the sweeter. A psychologist might be able to explain to me why I should want that - delayed gratification maybe?