Landing gear down

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Upton Warren encounters today:

Hide 1: “Anything much about?” “Nah. Well, there’s a whooper swan about somewhere. And some pochards. Oh, and a grebe. But I haven’t seen anything in the past 20 minutes. Oh look!” “What?” “A greenfinch.” “Right…”

Hide 2: “Anything much about?” “Not a thing.”

Hide 3: “Anything much about?” “Yes, there was a water rail here a couple of minutes ago – if you wait a few minutes it’ll probably come back.” 20 minutes later…. “Oh look! A coot.”

En route between Hides 3 and 4: “Seen anything much?” “Nope. Well, only a whooper swan. Oh, and a black-tailed godwit. You know….”

Hide 4: “Anything much about?” “Well, there’s a whooper swan over there,” – pointing to a pale speck about half a mile away that without a high-powered scope could have been almost anything.

Giving up in the face of a full bladder and rapidly approaching hypothermia, I stomped off back to the car park, where I was greeted by a new arrival: “Are the hawfinches still down by the new hide?” “I didn’t see any hawfinches, I’m afraid.” “Much else around?” “No.”

I backed the car out of its space and turned it towards the road, only to find the same man rushing towards me, waving. I wound down the window, to be told that there were six curlews in the field by the exit lane – at which point I must have looked utterly incredulous, because he enthusiastically reassured me that it was true: there were definitely six curlews in the field. What I knew and he didn’t, however, was that if I’d parked the car again and gone to look, they would have left by the time I arrived at the field. So I wished him well and departed, leaving him to enjoy his curlews.

This looks better full-screen. Honestly….