Wallcreeper wanderings

So, you want to see a Wallcreeper, eh?

The pressure is on again: will we see the Wallcreeper at the first attempt, at the first location? If not, how much time should we allocate to searching for it at the first site? Can we get there before the rock climbers take over? Then, when we decide to search another area, how long will it take to get there? What if that fails too? Can we get a third site in on the same day?
As a bird guide the pressure is always on before you see the bird that people really want to see. And the bird that people most often want to see is the Wallcreeper. Apart from that, there’s another affliction that’s endemic to looking for this bird: Wallcreeper neck. If you want to know how that feels trying standing at the base of a vertical cliff and stare upwards, to about 50 metres directly overhead for as long as you can. Then try some more, because you haven’t spotted the bird yet. Tried it? Now you know what Wallcreeper neck is!

Wallcreeper photography

Two fresh candidates for Wallcreeper neck

Over the past two decades I’ve spent many a day exposing myself to the hazards of searching for Wallcreepers which, in addition to the above include keeping one eye out for falling rocks, puffing and scrambling up steep slopes and gazing forlornly at miles and miles of limestone crags stretching across the horizon and wondering how many Wallcreepers there must have been picking their way across them in the time that I have been staring at one single rock face vainly hoping for a flash of those beautiful wings.

Looking for Wallcreepers

That’s a lot of rock!

Some will say that that’s the beauty of birding. You just never know what the birds are going to do, what exactly you’re going to see (or not). Yeah, OK, but for me just being there is like planting the seed which in itself is not deeply satisfying. When the bird suddenly appears though, your flowers have bloomed, and that is the true beauty of birding. You and the Wallcreeper are both there at the same time and the same place because you made a conscious decision to try and get another glimpse of the bird in its world, and the Wallcreeper decided to play along. Magic!

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