Once upon a time I drove up to Suffolk to twitch a Lesser Kestrel. I had the whole of the school day yet I very nearly dipped it and was on my way back to London to pick up the children, disgusted with how my day had turned out, when it reappeared. I had not gone far so I did a U-turn on the A12 and snaffled it by the skin of my teeth, arriving back at school with seconds to spare. There had also been a Pallid Swift a little further up the road, where exactly escapes me all these years later but had I gone straight there I would have seen it immediately and still been able to stare at (nearly) Kestrel-less skies all day at Westleton.
My twitching career carried on without any hint of Pallid Swift for a few more years before drifting to a near complete standstill. There may have been loads of gettable ones between then and now, I've no idea, but for quite a few days now there has been a juvenile at Winterton in Norfolk, roosting every evening on the church tower. Twitching Hirundines and Swifts immediately makes me nervous, they could head up into the clear sky at any moment, driven by a weather front or passing birds, and that would be that. I'd probably arrive just a few minutes later to hear a variation on the immortal words "It was showing brilliantly five minutes ago...".
I should have gone straight there from last Sunday's Canvasback at Abberton but I don't think I knew about it until after I'd arrived home. I could have snuck it in yesterday morning but I had an afternoon social event and I didn't want to be limited by needing to leave Norfolk by midday. Yesterday evening I definitely wasn't going. Rain was forecast late morning, it was over two hours away, I was tired, the car had no petrol in it.....any old excuse basically. I woke up at 6am and had a change of heart, it had been there late afternoon yesterday and this might be one of my best chances ever. I got in the car.
I needn't have worried, it showed about five minutes after I got there at around 9am, and then almost continually thereafter as it did wide circuits around the area. Initially quite distant, it eventually did some low passes over the village for astoundingly good views in lovely morning sunshine. Would that I had had my camera. Still, a great experience, and I'm very pleased to have finally seen Pallid Swift in this country. I expect it was one of my 'easiest' ticks, up there with Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers. I might not do a massive amount of twitching these days but there is still definitely some thrill to be had and I definitely still enjoy it for that. I wonder what will be next?