Friday, 12 April 2013

Good day, bad day

Late-April 1980
You arrive at school/college/work.
You look out of the window at a hazy sun, the odd shower and a southerly breeze.
You know that there is the potential for birds.
As soon as the days work is over, you rush home, pick up the optics and head for your local patch.
On arrival, a scan over the lake reveals a Little Gull, two Common Terns and, much to your delight a pair of Garganey.
You bump into another birder who has been there all day and he tells you about an Alpine Swift that was present for half-an-hour that morning.
After being on site for an hour, watching a steady passage of hirundines and Yellow Wagtails, you are stunned to see the Alpine Swift has returned, departing north after ten minutes.
You go home thrilled with the birding you have experienced.

Late-April 2013
You arrive at school/college/work.
You look out of the window at a hazy sun, the odd shower and a southerly breeze.
You know that there is the potential for birds because, apart from the clues in the weather, your pager, text messages and twitter feeds have been bombarding you with news of migrants being found in your area.
At 10.30 news comes through of an Alpine Swift on your local patch.
You panic, frantically thinking of a way that you can leave work.
You invent some reason for leaving and arrive on site some 40 minutes later.
The bird has gone but there is no time to spend looking on the lake as you need to get back to work and anyway, you are standing there in your suit minus binoculars.
Back at your desk, sweaty and flustered, the pager, texts and twitter feed constantly reveal new birds are being found, including an Alpine Swift at a reservoir only 15 miles away that appears to be sticking.
You spend the rest of the working day in a stew of disappointment, worry and anger.
As soon as the days work is over, you rush home, pick up the optics and head for the reservoir.
When you get there up to 50 birders are present, but the Alpine Swift hasn't been seen for five minutes.
After waiting for an hour news comes through that it has been refound back at your local patch.
You drive like a maniac and arrive at your patch to be told that the Alpine Swift has not been seen for almost an hour. You wait until dark, but it doesn't return.
Your mood is not lightened as you also missed a Little Gull and a pair of Garganey, all having departed early evening.
You go home despondent with the birding that you have experienced.

9 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Nails on head yet again. The man is on a roll... A Sandwich Tern is going to do my head in this weekend for sure

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  2. I have read this post again. God, I feel stressed, and I haven't even gone to bed yet to wake up undecided whether to go to Beddington or Staines Reservoir in the morning...

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  3. Thanks for your further kind comments Neil - I do hope that when your head hit the pillow last night you were at peace with your birding choices!!

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  4. Yep ,the second account is my life.

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    1. I feel your pain Laurence, it's a place that I've been to but keep away from

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  5. Yes, Steve. Alcohol helped, although late out as a consequence! Good day at Staines and Barnes. No Sandwich Terns but plenty of good birds at Staines and a drake Garganey at the Wetland Centre was nice.

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    1. Glad you had a good day in the field Neil. The hirundines at Holmethorpe were my highlight

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  6. Joy,the Sandwich tern "terned" up at Amwell !

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    1. Many happy reterns there Laurence (see what I did there?)

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