4th October. Lighthouse Fever Spreads

Following news of the Pallas's Gropper we decided that given the size of the Swainson's crowd we'd give it a miss at least until things had calmed down. Wandering around the crop field seeing very little, except for a couple of Whinchat, my concentration was broken by a call from the Drunkbirder informing me that the PG Tips had been confirmed. Unfortunately Rob had tour guide duties to perform and a lift to Levenwick was unavailable until 11!

Starting to feel restless I set off walking to Levenwick with the thought that I could probably hitch a lift some of the way. Unfortunately cars were heading north at a rate of one every ten minutes and those that passed clearly didn't like my unshaven serial killer look.

Rob and Andy calmed me down reassuring me that it would still be there and offered to pick me up on their way to the Sumburgh Radde's. This time the Radde's was showing well and after some poor photography we were on our way to the Gropper.

Gropper? Yes gropper. Arriving at Levenwick we were greeted by two of the 'losers' who invited Andy and myself to have a look at pictures of the PG Tips - except that these were pictures of a gropper! They weren't great pictures and I kept my thoughts to myself. The Llama however told them straight - those Llamas can be nasty at times. Further photos clearly showed a gropper.

It seems that three of them had simply suffered a case of Lighthouse Fever. Lighthouse Fever occurs when you're on a roll and your confidence is high. You've found that big rare and your appetite demands more. You forget the rules and suffer spells of delusion, forgetting that common birds do also occur on Shetland - you become a Gurner*. Before you know it your up to your balls in an iris bed or disused quarry with flashes of 'rare' round every corner. The condition ultimately results in a feeling of abject failure where despite having struck gold previously you realise that you're only as good as your last bird. The only known cure is to get out there and readdress the balance with more rare, a nice Dusky Thrush ought to do it.

Some consolation came in the form of the nearby Channerwick Booted Warbler being re-identified as a Sykes. Unfortunately it was a right bugger to see in the Japanese Knotweed but eventually gave itself up to a typical (for Shetland) small crowd.

Lately I seem to have a knack of missing the bill off everything!

The Levenwick lot left Channerwick laughing with threats of clearing the nearby Sandwick Bakery of pastry based savouries. Sure enough when I arrived the shelves were empty. Expressing my disappointment I was overjoyed when one of the nice ladies in the shop nipped in the back and came out with a fine brace of fresh lasagne pies, which I waved under the nose of the Losers - it just wasn't their day.
With filming over for the latest series of Benidorm Johnny Vegas embarked on a week in the Levenwick area

Gurn (gûrn)- vb
1. To contort one's face; grimace.
2. To accidentally identify a common bird as a rare one.

(Courtesy of J Gilroy)


Skev said...

Was it necessary for the Gurnbirder to actually eat all the pies before you got there?

The Leicester Llama said...

I thought I was very restrained in my comments. I was more pissed off at the fat bastards nicking all the Sandwick pies!!