Saturday, 9 February 2013

Trials of a working twitcher

After missing some Bean Geese at the end of last month, I thought my second Dorset-tick dip in as many weeks was on the cards as another good bird was found during the working week. Nick Hopper located a Green-winged Teal among its commoner cousins in Holes Bay on Thursday but there was no way I could get there before dark. I was working at the opposite end of the county on Friday so that was also going to prove difficult. In the end, there was enough time to get to Upton before dusk and look for the bird.

On arrival at the car park one of my birdrace teammates who was just leaving said that the Teal had been showing but had been lost to view in a deep channel. Foolishly, I forgot to ask 'which channel'. At first glance, there were a daunting number of Teal to get through, many of them distant and partially hidden in a slightly less daunting number of channels. Diligent searching produced nothing out of the ordinary. I tried counting them (300+), a good way to make sure I checked every bird. Still nothing.

With the light fading there was only one thing for it: resolve to give up, and have one last quick, forlorn scan while swearing a lot at the frustrations of fitting twitching in around a full-time job. This has done the trick before, and did so again, as the Green-winged Teal waddled up out of the channel and went to sleep on the bank in full view. Too far for photos, but some smart Pintail were a bit closer.


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