- What do you reckon guys? About 60?
- Yeah, something like that, maybe even more. Derek?
Yes, Derek is a true birder. But just in case there was still doubt, he adds:
- Including twenty-eight adult drakes.
Don't you just hate him?
I am not a true birder. I am in fact Mr Ballpark. If a flock of 67 Common Scoter flies past me I am usually busy trying to detect the flash of white secondaries. My count will be extremely circa. Mind you, if the flock numbers 20 or less I will do the best I can to count it properly; I'm not completely useless. So, when faced with a flock of waders on a beach, what does one do? What do I do? Well, it depends, as the following #recordshots illustrate...
|Ringed Plover. This was in a flock of one. Even I was untroubled here.|
|Sanderling. This was one of several. They were running about a lot, rather quickly, and I was struggling. Eventually I settled on nine. They then flew along the beach together of their own accord. Much better. There were ten.|
I thought perhaps if I got closer to them, the hidden ones would be visible and I could count them properly. I could see there were more than 40. I tried it...
|As you can see, it doesn't help to get closer. The hidden ones just crouch right down, and your field of view is restricted to just a few birds at a time. Dreadful.|
I know what you're thinking.
"Make them fly! Boot 'em! Get them up, UP! Then you'll see how many there are."
But it's not as simple as that, not when there are loads of them...
There had to be another way...
And then I remembered a trick I'd pulled in order to count a huge flock of Golden Plover back on the Axe. Get them up properly. Right up. Make them dots.
And then take a photo. Take a photo, blow it up, and count the dots at your leisure.
So I ran down the beach, screaming, and they all fled inland...
|Exactly 60 Whimbrel.|
So yes, 60 Whimbrel. And I'm glad I have the evidence too, because no one believes counts that end in zero. Obviously you struggled with accuracy, and rounded up. Not a true birder.
PS. I'm sure the following caveat is unnecessary, but just in case: before anyone comments adversely on my seemingly questionable birding ethics, don't believe everything you read on NQS.
|Not a Barwit. Rubbish photos can lie.|