There are some things, at present, that are best kept vague, such are the pandemic restrictions still in force, despite the incredible success of the vaccine roll-out. With Bev and I both being well into our sixties, it follows that many of our friends are of a similar vintage. So with the security of a negative, rapid test, result and, at least one, needle in the arm, there were arrangements made to meet up with two very special people and spend a while enjoying each others company.
So it came to pass that I found myself, around mid-day on Saturday, walking a footpath, which had superb views over the Upton Warren nature reserve. I'd said to my companion, "I reckon there's a twitch going on" as he parked the car opposite the entrance. There were just too many guys with bins and scopes wandering around the area for there not to be something going on? We took a leisurely walk along the footpath, spending quite some time scanning the small brook which runs alongside the footpath, finding a couple of Otter footprints in the soft marginal mud. Only carrying binoculars, we walked past several guys with tripod mounted scopes, peering out over the open water of the reserve. It wasn't until we'd reached the end of the path and decided to walk back that we stopped to have a chat with one of the scope carrying guys. It turned out that the Worcestershire birders were involved in a collective day list project and, far more to the point, the fact that a 2cy Bonaparte's Gull was present on site, a first for the county! No wonder there were so many scopes on display. It transpired that this guy, I have no idea who he was, cut his teeth around the Amwell area of Hertfordshire as I was doing the same at Tring. We spoke of the Tyddenfoot Short-toed Lark and how the fortunes of Ravens had changed in the "home counties" and beyond.
|My companion sent me this image, shared from Twitter, and I've cropped it quite heavily.|
The original was posted by Pete & Marjo Lewis and remains their copyright.
I have to admit that it was a real struggle before I managed to secure binocular views which allowed me to confidently claim this rare gull. My companion, being a complete novice, was blown away by the situation and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. All I would like to add is that it was a most unexpected demonstration of generosity by a bunch of strangers, and a credit to those birders involved. Social distancing being observed, the happy/excited vibe was tangible as the bird flitted about along the far margin of the main pool. I've used an image which was sent to me, that I have no ownership/copyright, thus will give full details of the the source. If you know Pete & Marjo please pass on my thanks - it is a wonderful photo which helps cement the memory in the mental archives of an old git!