Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dream time

I regularly have this dream. I am at a bird observatory. Sometimes it is Dungeness and at other times it is Portland. If it is Dungeness, the observatory building is in an old house that has many levels to it and is quite well furnished. The habitat immediately outside the building is as Dungeness actually is, but the further I walk away from the sea it becomes luxurious woodland with grassy glades. If my dream is at Portland then the observatory building is a much smaller affair than it really is and it is situated on a massive cliff headland, not dissimilar to Gibraltar (the British protectorate, not the observatory in Lincolnshire). The fields are disected by deep rutted tracks. Most of the time I am just about to start my holiday at whichever observatory the dream is featuring, or just about to depart from it. Quite often I have forgotten my optics. There is never, ever, any birding involved. When I wake up I long to return to the observatory dream, maybe I have this longing because I spent so much happy time in my youth in such places.

My other natural history related dreams are few and far between. The most vivid of those few that do occur feature magnificent wild flowers that resemble nothing to be found in any field guide. Another dream featured an MV full of stunning moths, none of which I had seen before.

I can wake from these dreams with a feeling of disappointment that it wasn't real and these stunning species that I had been looking at are but figments of my imagination. Maybe, in a parallel universe they do actually exist, and it is also there that I dream of sombre brown moths and insignificant dandelions...


  1. Since childhood I have dreamt that I am in a forwign country, surrounded by a plethora of exotic birds. My optics are at hand but alas it is the field guide that I am missing. The frustration of seeing so many birds and not knowing what they are usually wakes me up. Anxiety at some level in both cases I would say, perhaps regarding failure? I had my first beetle dream last year about Lacon quercus.

  2. Several times I've dreamt of birding from my bedroom window (because its a dream of course, it's 'my bedroom' from 40 years ago!) watching White Storks, Yellow-bellied Sap Suckers, Crag Martins, Black-and-white Warblers... and nobody to tell - ahhhh!!! Also had a few other dreams about exotic birds - but that's another story!

  3. My dreams remind me how sadly/profoundly deep my attachment to birding is psychologically - 80% of my dreams are bird-related! I still remember a very short dream from last night that I was at Beddington and there there three Ravens sitting on posts on the main lake, and I was watching them with three fictional but well regarded birders. Two were juveniles but in this dream juveniles were identified by having a shaggy brown mane of feathers around their neck.

    Anyway, on the topic of recurring natural history dreams, in the last couple of years mine is that I happen to stumble upon a body of water at Canons that I didn't know existed or had just been constructed. Without fail, as in your dreams, the place does not resemble Canons but it is Canons. The water body is always relatively small and lacks much potential but there's without fail something unexpected on there. Last time it was four drake Pintails and another time it was a flock of Dunlins and a couple of Great Crested Grebes.


  4. Graeme - my birding dreams are similar to yours in that failure is just around the corner (no optics, unidentifiable species). We must have need of a psychiatrist...

    Jerry - tell me more about these exotic birds...

    David - I've yet to have a Canons related dream although I love the idea of a hidden water body that bestows upon us wildfowl. maybe it's a premonition that you are having!