It is the time of year for reflection and as I headed out this afternoon I saw four Snipe and a male Hen harrier. My thoughts ran back to our good friend, birder and tracker Geoffrey McMunn. He runs a tracking school and works with disadvantage people and with folks who need encouragement to help them on their journey away from their troubled life. He is a good man. Some years back we spent a delightful week together in the wild places.
These are his words:
Golden Eagle or Whimbrel
Some years ago now I spent a week with my friend Jeremy Hasting who runs Islay Birding/Bushcraft on
Islay. We lived in a cave along the coast were we shared story’s and experiences as well as exchanging ideas like Nature Awareness.
On the day of our return it soon became clear how relaxed we had become as a result of living out in the wilderness of
Islay. We were birding on our return when I said to Jeremy I feel a Golden Eagle coming on and we both agreed that would round the week off very nicely. We were not disappointed a short while later we spotted a Golden Eagle.
Adopting the prone position we both spent some considerable time watching this magnificent bird when I heard what I first thought was a Curlew but turned out to be a Whimbrel. I decided to call out to it and almost immediately I got a response so I whislted to it again, once again it returned the call as it was moving from our front along to the right of our location.
Once more I called out with another whistled and sure enough the Whimbrel responded again this time I was aware that it had changed its course and was heading back towards us. The calling continued between the Whimbrel and my self and we could hear the Whimbrel getting closer the whole time my eyes were firmly fixed to my binoculars so as not to miss out on the rare opportunity of seeing a Golden Eagle.
As the Whimbrel got even closer I decided to look up from my binoculars just in time to see the Whimbrel gliding in just 3-4” directly over Jeremy’s head and then landing just out of arms reach from me.
In all my years of bird watching never have I been so close to a Whimbrel as this, it was interesting that not even the bright coloured plastic bags that contained our sleeping bags even bothered it, it was clear to me that we were so relaxed and in a different state of being that the Whimbrel did not recognise us as humans.
I motioned to Jeremy to get the camera out to which he rightly replied this is not a camera moment. We spent some twenty minutes or more with the Whimbrel walking in and around us with just two brief moments were it very briefly alarmed and at one point lifted of the ground only to land again immediately, this I believe was because we had moved energetically from a heart space to a head space. Eventually we had to move on and I found it difficult to end such a truly magical moment.
Some months later I was running a course with Hannah from Natural Pathways during the introductions one of our clients said she had a question for me and I invited her to ask it. Her question to me was “Golden Eagle or Whimbrel” I immediately smiled a big smile and replied in a soft voice “without doubt Whimbrel”.
Since then this moment has become something that Jeremy and I pass between each other when we know someone is going to visit either one of us. Jeremy many thanks for being a part of that never to be reported once in Life time special moment.