GRUMPY OLD BIRDER

What’s the one bird that has so far eluded you? asks Bo Be­olens

Bird Watching (UK) - - News -

DO YOU HAVE a bo­gie bird? One that, de­spite not be­ing rare you keep fail­ing to con­nect with, es­pe­cially af­ter pass­ing some­one say­ing it’s ‘show­ing well’! How about what US bird writer Al Batt calls an ‘onion’ bird? That’s a bird you so badly want to see it makes you cry tears of joy and pent-up emo­tion. Mine was Wall­creeper, a bird I first saw on a cig­a­rette card 60 years ago; im­mac­u­late slate grey plumage made glo­ri­ous by ver­mil­lion wings. When I fi­nally con­nected with this glory on a boul­der as we crossed a north­ern In­dian riverbed in a jeep, tears rolled down my face. The twitch­ing com­mu­nity has loads of terms de­scrib­ing es­o­teric bird cat­e­gories, their own canon of bird names, mostly com­pressed into mono­syl­labic bursts like ‘sprawk’ (Spar­rowhawk) or short­hand like ‘P G Tips’ (Pal­las’s Grasshop­per War­bler). Generic terms in­clude ‘plas­tic’ for any feral birds not on the of­fi­cial Bri­tish list, such as Em­peror Geese or es­capees like Hooded Mer­ganser that might be con­fused with those blown across the At­lantic by Oc­to­ber storms. I’ve also heard a term I hate, ‘rub­bish birds’, re­fer­ring to ev­ery­day birds one might ex­pect to see even in

When I fi­nally con­nected with a Wall­creeper, tears rolled down my face

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.