Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mercy twitching

Sitting round the house with a face longer than the John Lewis Christmas ad finally did the trick last weekend: the family took pity and acceded to a mercy twitch for a pair of Common Cranes which had spent much of the previous week nearby. I was grateful, obviously, though I would be lying if I said they did it with any more grace and enthusiasm than I show when taking them to, say, a theme park. Perhaps I oversold it, promising two majestic specimens like Big Bird out of Sesame Street which, as you can see from the photo, is a slight exaggeration.

At least now I have some inkling of how all these kid-listers feel when they have to depend on their mums to take them to see birds. I met one once, a kid-lister's mum that is, deposited by her ungrateful spawn a discrete distance from the actual twitch and under instruction not to join the crowd, wipe his nose, tuck his shirt in or otherwise embarrass him. Always amusing when people with a hobby as geeky as birdspotting are concerned to maintain the aura of 'cool'. Per-lease. And disgraceful too, she should have left him there to cadge a lift with a carload of grown-up, flatulent herberts who would destroy his fragile ego all the way home with tales of all the good birds they had seen which he would never tick, on account of them being extinct, seen in parts of the Empire which had since gained independence or, in the case of Slender-billed Curlew, simply hallucinations.

Anyway, back to my rehabilitation into the uber-cool of the Dorset minor rarity twitching scene. This was one of my first trips out since my unsuccessful bid for a Darwin Award last month. It was just within my current physical range - as in, get driven to the site, step out of car, see birds, take photo of birds, get back in car, get driven home again, and have a lie down, all within a couple of hours. The only difficult bit was the photo, which I just about managed with contortions which were bearable, but probably not what the doctor would have ordered. Fortunately they were very big birds, so even I couldn't screw up the chance of a record shot.

Next weekend's rehab plan is to see if I can walk as far as Swineham. So if you're getting sick to death of self-regarding Christmas ads by shops who need to get over themselves, or the unbearable tension of the Strictly dance-offs (you know who you are), just turn off the TV and log on to see if I get that far.
Common Cranes, both first winter birds, so lacking the red, white and black head and neck markings of adult birds.


  1. Great Shot Peter glad you got to see them

  2. Can I just say how much I enjoy your blog? Very amusing writing, I was ashamed to laugh at the account of your Darwin award attempt and hope you recover soon. On the plus side, you might just be too incapacitated to assist much with the upcoming festivities and their accompanying mayhem.

    From an ex DCC bod, in a town not far along the coast from you. Merry Christmas!

    1. Many thanks for the feedback and your good wishes - feeling better already! P