Being Sociable 2 - Being REALLY Sociable

I have been obsessed with seeing Sociable Plover since I was a kid. And I know exactly what caused that obsession. It was this plate by Ian Lewington from Rare Birds

This. This is responsible.

This plate has haunted my dreams. The less said about Great Knot the better, and I found 3 White-Tailed Plover of my own in Israel, but not Sociable, the one I wanted most.

White-Tailed Plovers - Israel, Self Found.

I had hoped to come across Sociable on that trip too maybe, but it was not to be, and needless to say tis far from Sociable Plover we were reared in Ireland (at least not since the Stone Age).

A bird had been present all summer a good 9 hours plus drive away. I was even tempted when my Dad was over visiting back in June, but even with other birds available for him there, we couldn't face it.

This week began in awful fashion. On Monday the throat began with that awful ache, indicating that once again our daughter had brought a child-plague into the house. 

By Tuesday it had taken the bridge and the second hall of the sinuses.

And by Wednesday and Thursday I basically entered complete cell death, and was fully of the belief that having a colony of rats in the kitchen would be healthier than having kids.

Friday was still pretty bad. So bad that I bailed out of the planned trip to Hämeenkyrö. The thought of a weekend hacking my lungs over gathered people was not pleasant and so I received no resistance.

By sheer happenstance, pure coincidence now mind you, the same aforementioned Sociable Plover which had been up north...well it came south and was only an hour and 20 minutes away. 

And so, like Lazarus rising from the grave, or at the least a pale and horrific Nosferatu, I crawled from the Netflix and mucus fort I had created on the couch, dosed myself up with enough Paracetamol to destroy the liver of a Blue Whale, and made my way shakily east to Loviisa.

There hadn't been any news of the bird since the morning, when it was put out that it hadn't been seen for some 3 hours hence and the flock had halved. 

When I arrived at the site, there was just one car and no one in sight. Another car passed, and luckily it was some birders who did indeed inform me that it was there and showing well.

And so I rounded the corner of the field and found just one birder there...and the bird giving itself up. 😍

Said birder soon left and I was , amazingly, left alone watching an absolutely astounding mega, an absolute dream fulfilled. 

Sociable Plover - an absolute dream of a bird. 

Whether my eyes were watering from disease, or pure overwhelming emotion, the Gods themselves will never know.

I watched this bird for over an hour, completely undisturbed save for the occasional mosquito and the patter of light rain on my jacket. 

The bird roamed, back and forth on the flowery meadow, occasionally flapping or flying giving views of that incredible wing pattern. 

An experience so peaceful and so surreal, that this morning I briefly wondered if it had, indeed, been all a dream. 


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