Saturday, 2 May 2015
It's official, I've won the big one, and I can confidently say that life will never be the same again. Many people say that a big win won't change them, but that's ridiculous, of course it does. In my case I fully expect that my new celebrity status could see me get endorsement deals, TV shows, and it's perhaps even possible that the story will transfer to the silver screen. For I am now the holder of the coveted North Downs and Beyond Wheatear Trophy, awarded to the blogger who manages to post the most photos of Northern Wheatears in any given Spring. To say I am chuffed to bits doesn't even come close, and of course I can start to travel again now.
Rather than relate it all again, I'm just going to post the transcript from the award ceremony that recently took place on Wanstead Flats - where each and every Wheatear photo that I took came from. No travel involved, this is a very "green" win....So, back to the marquee....
* sound of thunderous applause gradually fading away * (NB this lasted for a full five minutes and was intensely embarrassing actually)
I honestly don't know where to start, to win this trophy is my dream. I'm totally overwhelmed. * blows nose loudly, wipes eyes *. First of all, I suppose I ought to say a little bit about the birds, this trophy is really for them. * more applause * Wheatears are just, just, so, well, so, so perfect. They're the perfect bird. I mean Shrikes are fabulous, Whinchats are lovely, but they just don't come close to Wheatears. Perfection in a tiny package, they herald spring migration like no other species, they're the ones we all wait for. Sure we get LRPs, early Sand Martins and the like, but they're just not, well not Wheatears frankly. The little eye mask, the brilliant flush of peach, the silvery back, and of course the rump. Oh the rump, the arse! It's just so, so splendid, so pure, so...so white. That first flash of white-arse, a joy as it flits away. You don't often see the bird at first, but the white emblazoned across the retina brings with it the joyous realisation that they're back and that a new season has begun. * lengthy applause * But I know that you all know that, as you're all fans too. We all are.
Anyway, a few Thank Yous, there are so many people here that made this possible. First of all to Steve, whose marvellous idea this was. Many people thought that this competition was a piss-take, a way of expressing ire at the number of Wheatear images that appear on the internet from about late March, but nothing could be further than the truth. Northern Wheatears, Desert Wheatears, in fact any Wheatear at all, Steve's a believer.
To Tim, who found the first one, you're a hero, a legend, I couldn't have done it without you. Indeed all the patch-workers in Wanstead who patiently staked out the birds whilst I was at work, staying with them until I could get out, my thanks to you all.
I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors of course for a race well run. Really we're all in it together, we share a common objective, a common love. Your ambition spurred me on, and I look forward to next year.
I'd like to thank my Mum and Dad, who ensured I got well enough educated to get a job which allowed me to buy the camera in the first place, and who I think now know what a Wheatear is.
To the engineers at Canon, what can I say? The kit is superb, I can think of no better way to use it than to utterly wear my shutter out on a single species, and that of course is Oenanthe oenanthe. This trophy is partially yours too.
In fact it belongs to everyone, even though it is going on my mantelpiece. I'd like to dedicate this win to to all white-arse fanciers everywhere. Thank You. Thank you. Thank you. Excuse me while I go and sit on that hummock. * bursts into tears * * immense applause *