Thursday, 23 August 2012

A Double Dose of Greens

Thursday 23rd August 2012
A horizon lined with cloud made me wait
just long enough for a new bird to drop in.

OK. Sorry! It's birds again.

If you tuned in expecting to see courgettes, they will appear later today. That's a promise.
As I have done every morning (except one) this year, I walked out onto the farm at first light to take my sunrise photo. I have only recently switched to taking my morning photo from the very end of the land as the sun is gradually moving back along the horizon and a line of trees had begun to creep further and further into my field of view.

Well, this morning I had double reason for making this journey. Would yesterday evening's Green Sandpiper still be in the dyke? I carefully peered over the edge, but nothing in immediate view, so I cautiously climbed down the steep bank to get a view along. Again, nothing.

I scrambled back up and waited a couple of minutes to see if the sun would be able to break through the clouds on the horizon when, quite out of the blue, I heard a familiar, powerful chew-chew call. I looked up into the air to see a wader drop into the dyke, only about 30 yards to my left. I edged my way to the bank and, peering through the long grass, could see a juvenile Greenshank standing alert with its head held high showing off its strong, slightly upturned bill. I watched it for all of about ten seconds before it took to the air again and headed high south, calling chew-chew, chew-chew-chew.

Farm tick 102!

Well, well! What were the chances of that happening? Green Sandpiper one evening and Greenshank very first thing the next morning.

Actually it's no coincidence. Given the right conditions birds will be on the move in numbers. If there's something to attract them, even a newly dredged, muddy old dyke, then they will appear. It's just a matter of being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I could so easily have missed both these birds. Goodness knows what else I've missed, maybe even while I'm sat here typing.

An example of such a coincidence is not far away, for when I checked my records yesterday I noticed that it was one year and one day since I had a Pied Flycatcher in the garden. And the day after that I had a Spotted Flycatcher! The only time I've seen either bird here.

So next time I get a new bird for the farm, I'll be out the next day confidently expecting another. But that's not the way it works. However much you try to predict, it's always a surprise what turns up next.

That's the delight of birding.

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