Gambling with your birding is something that most of us do without even thinking about it. Our choice of destination is the main 'spin of the wheel' that we make, followed by how long we stay out in the field and where exactly we look. Walk the wrong way down a hedgerow and we can miss the cracking male Red-backed Shrike that would have been waiting for us on the other side. Stop and scrutinise that gull flock resting on the fields and a Red-rumped Swallow might be hawking up and down the meadow behind us. I could fill plenty of posts with tales of 'if only'.
This weekend's gamble is as much a test of my bottle. I have long wanted to find a decent viz mig site along the North Downs scarp. My search for such a place has so far resulted in failure. Maybe I need to look along the gaps in the hills? One obvious place is the Mole Gap at Dorking and, if this is to be somewhere that can deliver the goods, then I have found a number of vantage points from which to watch the skies. But, the realist in me knows that to prove (or disprove) the quality of a place for its birding requires a lot of time to be put into watching it. I can only give a site a cursory glance. But such is the draw of trying to discover a 'new' place, I think it's worth a punt.
This weekend looks much better for migration (although today hasn't been too bad if you trawl the net and Twitter). I'm going to gamble on missing good local birding elsewhere, roll the dice and take up position. I could be sitting down for the day and returning home with an empty notebook and a battered ego. But then again, it would only take an Osprey or a Marsh Harrier to make me feel vindicated.