These are the words that bounce around my skull as I head off to the paddy fields of Kin. What birds will I see, perhaps what new birds will I see? The day before I had been to Tokyo and back and the need to do very little was strong. Well, do very little not really as therein lies the conundrum of birding. Most of the time you are more or less motionless, trying hard to restrict your movement lest you scare the bird(s). But at the same time your senses are very charged with the ancient hunter’s instincts. My nostrils flare, my hearing becomes more acute, my vision is telescopic er because of the telescope, I rub mud into my scalp, I move like a Pointer. Not really but you get my drift.
What shape, what size, what colors, what markings, what legs, what bill, what tail, what time of year, what sex? All this is computing at very high speed to compare with established data in the book with the dreadful deadline of the bird flying away always there. It takes total concentration.
It is impossibly demanding. The Sirens’ song temptation to let standards drop by identifying a bird when you are not really sure is ever-present. What kind of man are you?
In particle physics you have well-known particles that are easy to identify. Others, the Higgs for example, have many predicted plumages. Have I really seen a Wood Sandpiper or is it just experimental error or a statistical aberration?
I get home after a wonderful day of standing still but going at a thousand miles an hour.
I love watching birds.