Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Olive-backed Pipit, Filey - 30th April

After an already killer day in the field (see here for full details), this eastern jewel appeared out of nowhere, on the very edge of the cliff on Carr Naze, directly between the waning evening sun and the camera lens (which was pleasantly preoccupied with close-up Wheatears at the time). Instinctively sticking with the DSLR as opposed to changing over to optics, it turned out to be all or nothing for a few precious seconds.

Calling twice, hop-scotching a couple of metres and staying in view just long enough to give me a clear shot, its presence was (almost) painfully brief, and that it was registered at all was down to pure luck. Or more accurately, luck and technology. A combination of factors, however, conspired to write a happy ending, including the bird landing exactly where it did and for just enough time, the camera locking onto it mercifully quickly, and (critically) the relative angle(s) of the bird, which provided an ultimately defining suite of i.d. features.

Reviewing the photos brought on that heady mix of restrained elation and mild panic, and despite the apparently conclusive evidence, opinions from various trusted observers were sought; plenty of helpful input came in over the next day or so, with the i.d (and sanity) gratefully upheld.

A happy ending indeed, which I'm tempted to take as a slightly delayed 40th birthday present, celebrated into the early hours the previous evening, and intermittently again ever since thanks to this bird.