Since Mr. T was swaning around in France trying to attract some rare feathered friends from the Folies Bergere , no doubt and Mr. B was preparing for his tour of the Kuwaiti oil fields. I wandered lonely South to Arundel WWT for a Big Tick for a Little Bird.
My intention was to quickly ‘get’ the bird and then spend the rest of the day photographing some of their large collection of rare captive wild fowl from around the world.
I soon located the ticking group after being stripped of £10.30 for the honour of treading on the WWT’s holy land. Why the extra 30p I never found out. Lonely I was no more, about 200 other like minded people were squeezed into two viewing areas on a two foot wide boardwalk attempting to look down two water channels both about 10 foot wide into a large reed bed where this wanted specimen was apparently seen some 30 minutes ago. It’s strange at these twitches, whatever time you arrive you are with some degree of glee always told IT was seen 30 minutes ago; usually accompanied with the comments ‘’we had cracking views down to 5 yards’’
The vigil started. Two hours later after witnessing two water voles and a grass snake gently swim by we all began to get a bit fidgety but to turn around or even try to discreetly stretch was frowned upon, especially by those on the edge of the boardwalk.
Another two hours went by and now not only was the sun at its peak in a cloudless sky on the hottest day of the year but most were now becoming hungry and thirsty. What a sweaty, starving bunch of Crazies we were since no one dare leave their position in case the sought after little creature appeared ; and in any case once you quitted your spot there was no chance of regaining it. We all had to suffer in silence apart from the grumbling stomachs!
After a further two hours a lot of people were now questioning their own sanity especially since the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Heineken cup quarter- final and the Masters golf were all being televised. Never mind we all said we were having some cracking ( of course) views of courting Mallards, tussles between Buzzards and Red kites and the constant serenade of an annoying Cetti’s Warbler which burst into song every 5 minutes or so about 5 Yards away. If I don’t hear another Cetti this year I will be most pleased.
You would think after six hours there would be a gradual decrease in numbers since we had had not a sniff of any possible indication that this horrible little thing was still present. None of it, no one was going anywhere!
However when six and a half hour was reached I decided that was it . If I left now I wouldn’t be home for ten so reluctantly I started to gather my bits together and was just going to move off : when------
‘’There she is—just come out of the reeds at the back’’ Dropped everything ,bins up , spotted, ticked, time to go home ( after a visit to the bushes for the first time in 7 hours, a record in itself)
What it had been doing for SIX AND A HALF HOURS heavens knows but who cares.
A Big Tick for a LITTLE CRAKE, an attractive, rare vagrant and elusive Rail from Eastern Europe.
Was it worth it. Of course. Where else would you get a chance to experience the emotions of Expectation, Suspense,Frustration,Impatience,Elation and Satisfaction all in one day.
A record day indeed
|White-faced Whistling Ducks|
Although no opportunity arose to get shots of the Female Little Crake there was just enough time at the end of the day for a few shots of some of their captive Wildfowl