In Bulgaria, we had swapped guides, Dancho having had enough of us, quite understandably. The new man, Simeon, had listened patiently to our remaining "wants", and declared that he had a cast-iron sites for most of them. Naturally, we dipped everything, starting with a nailed-on Levant Sparrowhawk very close to the hotel. We followed this up by dipping Grey-headed Woodpecker, and concluded by dipping Sombre Tit after Sombre Tit. Or I did anyway. Added to this was the need to travel the length of the country to catch our flight, and so given the excellence of the three previous days, it was inevitably somewhat of a disappointment.
Yesterday morning I was in Fife, having nipped across from Oban for a rare opportunity to get the entire Lethbridge clan together. In the back of my mind however, was an adult Roller in Yorkshire. A Roller that I considered twitching a week ago on the way up to Scotland but concluded was too out of the way. A Roller that then surpassed all expectations by staying in the same spot all week. A Roller that I was astonished remained one further day, the day which I would be driving past, and this time on the right side of the country. Throughout the morning, regular messages came through about its continued presence in the same field. My confidence was sky high, and mentally it was on the list already. The perspicaceous amongst you will know where this leading....
Two hours before I arrived at the spot that the Roller had been at for ten days, it vanished. I spent two hours tramping around some dark and wet countryside, seeing nothing turquoise, before reluctantly carrying on home to London. It gets better though, as I knew it would. First bird message this morning? Do you need a clue? Thought not.... To pretend I am not completely gutted would be a huge lie. To somehow shrug it off by saying I've seen loads really well in Europe would be equally lame. As I say, gutted. It had been there just about forever, and as I type, is still there. I'm not going back, even though I could. I've spent more than enough time in the car recently, and there will be another - which I am aware also sounds lame. And when there is, I'll probably dip that one too. Pure overconfidence was my undoing. If you ever think something is nailed on, and start celebrating early - Landguard excepted - you're doomed. Simeon learnt that lesson in Bulgaria, and I learnt it yesterday in Yorkshire. Bugger.
|In Bulgaria. Whatever....|