You never know what you’re going to get — and quite often you don’t know what you’re getting while you’re getting it. I was paddling my kayak on the local river in the Broads when two waders flew across just ahead of me, dipped towards the water and flew off. I had them in sight for a second, perhaps half a second longer. No binoculars, of course.
They seemed black against the sky and the water, but showed jaunty white bums as they rose. Just as I was saying to myself “lapwings” they called out, not with an oboe as lapwing should, but with a penny whistle. Birders will already be saying the words “green sandpiper”.
And so was I. They’re not fabulous rarities, but they’re not your everyday birds either, and it was very damn pleasant to meet them. Naturally I looked them up when I got back, and once I had played the call on my phone app there was little room for doubt. Just for reassurance I got in touch with Carl, my personal rarities committee (Carl Chapman of Wildlife Tours and Education), and he gave me a thumbs-up.
There’s a twin pleasure at work here. First the pleasure of observation and ID, a hint of crossword-puzzle solving mixed with the gratification of the hunter. But then something deeper cuts in: delight in the newly-revealed diversity of a place I know well. It’s worth savouring, not least because it’s a reminder that’s that there’s still plenty of stuff out there worth saving.