Wish list

I tell you want I want, what I really, really want...

I've just typed that realising that there are some younger visitors to this blog who will not understand that cultural reference. And there will be plenty more who will dispute that it has any cultural content at all.

If I could bestow upon myself a single bird, plant and moth, what would they be?

The rules are simple - it must be feasible (so no Hawk Owl perched on top of a Ghost Orchid), it will be self-found and it has to be local.

Bird: Stone Curlew. Preferably one March or April morning, sticking out like a sore thumb on a stony field. Canons Farm or Epsom Downs will do. Added bonus would involve a bit of flying around and a bit of calling.

Plant: Lady Orchid along 'my' bit of the Surrey North Downs. There are historical records, they do occur both west and east of here and the odd Lizard Orchid still pops up to surprise botanists, so why not? I'm sure a hidden plant or a bit of wind-blown seed from Kent is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Moth: I walk over to the back garden MV still groggy with sleep - it's been a muggy night. I bend down to peer into the trap and see one big hawk-moth atop an egg box. It is! Death's-head! I've only seen one before (at Dungeness) and it didn't disappoint. One in the garden would be special. Patton's Tiger would be nice as well. And a Passenger - oh, I did say just one didn't I. OK, Death's-head Hawk-moth it is then.

Now that I've let these be known, they won't happen. When I'm out birding and start scanning the sky for an Alpine Swift I know that I've just jinxed the chances of finding one. I'll then change target and work the hedgerow for a shrike, but there can't be one now can there, not after I've thought it. So what's left? A Red-rumped Swallow? A Pacific Swift? No chance, not now - if I find something now it will be something totally unexpected like a Roller - but I've now cursed that species as well, haven't I. Ad infinitum...


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