15 November, 2021

P For Vendetta

Birding is, to paraphrase a legend of his field, a funny old game.

One such item of frivolity is the Bogey Bird. That thing you just can't see, due to circumstances ranging from the major to the absurd. Sometimes entirely understandable [Jack Snipe, a Bogey for many, for example, are a Quantum Species, and can only be seen if Not looked-for...], sometimes a source of an amusing story while waiting for something small and rare to decide to come out of the bushes it's cowering in...

Sometimes, however, things elevate beyond the level of anecdote. Sometimes it gets beyond reasonable correlations of circumstances. Sometimes it seems like they do it on purpose. Sometimes it's like they're laughing at you. Sometimes you just have to see one, just one. 
Sometimes it gets personal.

Pectoral Sandpiper is one such bird for me. I, for almost all of my 'serious' birding career, have seen exactly one. By absolute fluke, having turned up with no idea it was there [a very long time ago...]. I don't and won't talk about it. [[Yes, I get how that reads on here of all places]]

Every time I've since had cause to twitch one - for Yearlisting purposes, or just to damnwellseeanotherone - said attempt has resulted in failure. Zero bird present. Big. Fat. Dip. 
Every. Single. Time.

And Pec Sand, while nice to see, is easily the most frequently-occurring New World wader. 

So, the re-appearance of the South Huish bird [It's not a new one, you know; it's the same one that was hiding while I could get at it] along with half-decent weather and me being able to devote a whole day to pinning the VERY rude word thing down, with the possiblity of not just a nice Water Pipit next to it but Desert Wheatear close by [worth twitching on it's own,  even if not needed for anything other than the joy of sharing existence with it], Snow Buntings and well.... that RND might be back, there should be Bittern at Slapton by now, Spoonbills could drop in anywhere and show better at SH than Anywhere.. There's a long list.
It was a good plan.
[A certain Teacher had the same idea, you know...]

Saturday dawned... To my head gleefully blasting my brain into a shrivelled screaming crunch in the centre of my skull. [First one since July, did you know?]

Oh for f-

Sunday dawned... With me feeling much better, and a late morning meetup arranged with the Folks to go for a nice amble. Lunch was involved and there was a good chance of more fungi [oh yes, quake, quake with Fear].

But sunrise was a long time before late morning. And first thing in the morning, you can get through Totnes quite smoothly. Even on Remembrance Sunday, when every road you can think of gets shut. 

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Eat me, you dammed yankee;
Pectoral Sandpiper
[Grey Heron's arse for scale]
Ah, your tears are sweet, so sweet to me.


[[I think I might have a lot of pent-up issues to deal with....]]

We are, of course, here;
The soggy bit next to South Huish
 Spot the Pec Sand? It's next to the Heron. No, the one on the right. See it now?

"Is it over there?"

"How about here?"


Right back, hiding in amongst the lumps and bumps and passing Herons, with truly epic-scale bad light [low light and backlit with glare at the same time], but it was there.

Showing much better was;

Water Pipit

Still awful light, but at least right at the front!
No less than 37 Skylark flew overhead as I was packing up the Big Scope [who needs Artefacts {I prefer keeping my soul} anyway?] , and a lone Snipe actually came out of cover and started foraging, it was so dark.! [The Dessie had done a bunk on Friday, it seems, if you were wondering]

Obligatory Thurlestone and Bolt Tail photo.

I swung past Slapton on my way home [only a minor detour..] but the Snow Buntings were - in defiance of all probability - not right where they should have been. A large quantity of loose dogs just walked through there may have had something to do with it... SnoBs are very bombproof, but even they move sometimes and I just didn't have time to hunt down what were very camouflaged birds on the shingle. Oh well, worth a try.
 I made it home for the 11th hour, and then- Well, that's another post.

Be Seeing You...

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