Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sick birding

This post was prompted by David Campbell, who was birding at Canons Farm last Sunday with the chickenpox...

I once had a blocked tear-duct. It was quite messy, without getting into too much detail. And then I had a temperature to go with it, a thumping head, a general feeling of malaise plus aching limbs. So I did what all sensible people would do and got into my car and drove 90 miles to Dungeness. The rush of pre-birding anticipation got me through the journey but as soon as I pulled up outside of the observatory I felt terrible. So I immediately turned round and started to drive back home.

It was a long journey. My eye started to weep pus and blood (told you it was messy). My headache started to seize up any ability to think straight. Pulses of pain travelled down my arms and legs. I felt very hot. Then very cold. Then very hot again. The speedometer rarely went above 40. It took an age to get home and when I did I crawled into bed and into a fitful sleep.

I had a call from the observatory at the end of the day to tell me that they had watched a male Red-footed Falcon arrive in off the sea. I was too ill to let it bother me.

It is a universal truth that birders will put up with almost anything to go birding. I've seen people with broken limbs try and cross shingle on crutches to scope a flock of gulls. I've walked through a winter woodland in pouring rain to count tit flocks whilst undergoing chemotherapy. And on more than one occasion, whilst sea-watching, I've woken up terribly hung-over collegues to inform them that something half-decent is coming our way. They would sooner choose to overcome alcohol poisoning on a cold beach than a warm bed 'just in case' they missed something.

Hope you feel better soon David!


Skev said...

I remember a Scillonian load of seasickers wretching over the motion of the waves and waft of chum suddenly being in fine fettle when the shout 'Wilson's' went up. I was fine thoughout and enjoyed the birds, Guinness and sausage cobs.

Jerry said...

You know you must be feeling rough when you don't even care about missing out on a good bird! By the way Steve, did you ever get that elusive Cypress Carpet - if not it obviously still isn't too late - I've just had two fly into the trap tonight (plus a couple of R-G Carpets)!

Steve Gale said...

Skev: it's amazing how focused an ill birder can become when a tick is on offer. Glad your constitution is stout!

Jerry: Still no local Cypress Carpet success although tonight offers another chance.