a twitch

You may think that this is going to detail a recent field excursion to see a rare bird, but no.  Quite the opposite.

Today (dependent on the weather I guess as there is a fair bit of the white stuff about) I may well take Mrs Thing Waxwing hunting.  I have a fair idea of where they have been recently and have had the good fortune to stumble across them in this area before, and it is in that area that I went on my first twitch.   Now,  I can count the number of dirty-filthy-twitcherings that I have gone to by only using my digits.  I may have some birds on my list that would cause people to twitch but many are there because I went to reserves with fingers crossed.  Largely waders, and largely in north Norfolk.  But that’s how it goes.  My first proper twitch was for a Waxwing, which is why this memory comes to mind.  Let me tell you a little story…

My friend Mark and I (he claimed to have seen a Lesser Kestrel but hadn’t) did a bit of voluntary work for the RSPB.  On a particular day we went to help out in the local (Norwich) office (when it was in Bethel Street) – this is in the 80’s don’t you know.  In those days the chaps in charge were Tony Prater and Chris Durdin.  Tony Prater co-wrote a book called Shorebirds, which is jolly good indeed.   Chris Durdin runs a birding tour company (or something like that).  I digress.  When we got there we were informed that there was a couple of Waxwings eating Rowan berries in the car park behind the Granville Saddelry.  Unless you know where that was, it is meaningless now as it doesn’t exist anymore. 



We had only seen them in books, and new that they were pretty classy looking birds so decided to sod the volling, and got back on our bikes to head for Stafford Street (probably after getting permission from home in all likelihood).  There was of course, nothing to see and nobody there.  Apart from an empty tree.  We hung around for a bit and nothing turned up.  Just as we decided that it was time to go (mums, dinners, etc) they flew into the tree.  Smiles, wows and a fair bit of ‘brilliant!.  First twitch, and mighty succesful.

My last twitch was for a Waxwing.  In Finchley of all places.  And it was this year.  I don’t need them on any list that I keep (apart from Patches of course).  So why go and look for them? To paraphrase Louis Armstrong – if you have to ask what a Waxwing is…

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