Monday, 13 May 2013

Purple, but not on the patch

Feeling guilty about driving to Scotland last week so thought I would do my bit for the environment by recycling this blog post title from last year. Then it was a Heron, this time Sandpipers, which adorned the beaches of Balranald, North Uist, on my second visit last week.
Purple Sandpiper - in summer plumage there is more rufous in the scapulars and the crown, and more prominent white fringes to the feathers on the back, than we would normally see on winter birds in Dorset  
It's all happening up there now I'm back of course, with a massive Skua passage kicking in and a Snowy Owl re-appearing after a long absence. At least I prefer that explanation to the alternative, which is that it was there all along but I am such a duff birder that I failed to spot a haystack of white feathers on a needle-shaped carpet of machair in the Sollas area. I did have a look there as it happens, and even got the scope out a couple of times to positively identify the resident white plastic bags.
Purple Sandpiper. The leg colour is also darker on this bird than the orangey pins, to use the official topgraphical term, which help identify winter birds.
But I've learnt that it's important not to dwell on 'if only's' after such a trip. That way madness lies. Short of moving to a birding hotspot (which I've already done), never leaving (which is impractical), being unemployed (unsustainable) and not having a family (unthinkable!) one is always going to miss something where one just was. It's just a matter of narrowing the horizon over which one allows oneself to get upset about it.
Purple Sandpiper
Enough pseudo-philosophical claptrap though, I'm still only on day two of writing up a six-day trip which is already a week old, and there is no stench worse than over-ripe blog material decomposing under the weight of its own putridity. Except perhaps that seaweed I had to lie down in to photograph those Purps. At least I got my own table at the pub that night.
Eugh. Lying down in it was bad enough. 

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