With birding, possible is everything

Possible is everything    

I was driving my car in the sierras of Tarragona the other day, on the way home after a bird census. It was then that I came up with this catch phrase “Possible is everything”. Attention now – that is not the same as “Everything is possible”. For one thing, I don’t believe that the Dodo will ever fly, for example.

The Pine Bunting that has been kicking around with the wintering Yellowhammers at Aspa (near Lleida) since early in the New Year was the catalyst for this far-reaching reflection. I said to myself,
“If a visiting birder came across a Pine Bunting near Aspa (which is in the middle of nowhere in particular), why couldn’t that bunting I’ve just passed while in my car be a Rustic Bunting, and not a Cirl Bunting? I’ve just told myself that it was a Cirl Bunting even though I haven’t really seen the bird well enough to know for sure. However unlikely it may seem, couldn’t that bird be a Rustic Bunting?”

The thought rang out so loud that I had to stop the car and back around a sharp bend (Hey! It’s a very quiet road!), to come to a halt opposite the bush where the bunting in question had landed. I groped for my binoculars on the passenger seat and I clinched the identification – Cirl Bunting.

But it’s not the fact that it was indeed a Cirl Bunting that matters. After all the Cirl Bunting is the bunting one is most likely to see in these parts. No, what carries real weight is that I actually stopped, reversed and took a good look at the bird in the bush.

Because it could have been something else.

It could have been a Rustic Bunting, for example.

Where birds and birders meet “possible” is everything.

A view of Riglos in the province of Huesca.

Personally, I feel closer to the possibility of finding Spain’s first Radde’s Accentor than scaling the vertical rock faces of Riglos.

Leave a Reply