Monday, 23 January 2012


The other night I had a dream. It's possible that I dream every night, I have no idea how it works, but it's not every morning you wake up and wonder whether it was all a dream, so to speak. This particular dream was about the patch, and I was on it. The snide will comment that it must have been a dream, and indeed, sometimes it does appear to be like that, especially so at the moment, where I get perhaps one opportunity a week to not see Woodpeckers. This dream was not about Woodpeckers though, it was about Lapwings.

Lapwings are what a local bird report might call a scarce visitor. When I first moved here, Lapwing was pretty much a dream bird. I suppose, given recent events, that it still is. Anyway, I had lived here nearly five years before I saw my first Lapwing - in a cold spell one December, 12 flew over me in the Park. I could barely believe it. I dashed home to report the good news to my fascinated family, and in a calculated move of which I am still immensely proud, went and stood in the garden for the rest of the day. Lo and behold, and to a chorus of pure joy, a single Lapwing flying south went and got itself onto the house list. Since that momentous day, I've seen Lapwings a further nine times, totalling 33 birds, though I guess you have to be a fan of urban patch stats to truly appreciate this. One more stat - most of these have been from the garden - unemployment has its benefits.

In my dream I was on the Flats, not in the garden. I was in the SSSI, heading home after a fruitless trip - all the best dreams are grounded in reality. Approaching the ditch that runs approximately east to west, two Lapwings flew over. In case you were having the same dream, they went west. Anyway, they were perfect. The rounded rings, narrower at the base, were impeccably floppy, the flight impressively Lapwingy. In my dream I punched the air, over the moon at a tough patch year tick bagged. Then I woke up. Well, not immediately I don't suppose, but upon waking the dream was still fresh, still vivid, in my mind's eye I could picture them still.

One of the very first ones
Is this post a confession? Not really, you all know I'm a sad case already. I am giving absolutely nothing away when I admit that I dream of birds, but what I feel is particularly noteworthy is that I don't dream about finding Sibe Rubythroats on Unst, or jamming in on Calandra Larks on Scilly. No, I dream about bog standard common waders on my own patch. Unconscious dedication.

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