Now this is one of those salutary lessons we are given from time to time. I had a couple of days off work, so we went for another walk at Jeskyns – the day was mild and the light good, so I took my bridge camera instead of the little compact. I didn’t bother with a spare battery as I haven’t used it much lately, but last time I used it, the battery was fine. I usually take a shoulder bag, in which I can carry my little camera and spare batteries for both, but I wasn’t expecting to have much use for either camera, so I didn’t bother. Of course, I saw a distant bird I could not readily identify in a tree, pulled out the camera, and the battery was as flat as a pancake. So we walked on, and within a couple of minutes came upon a treeful of waxwings, one of my holy grail birds; I have never had a confirmed sighting before, but these were serenely posing in a copse of bare trees in full sunlight, and as tame as could be. I was able to walk right up underneath one and it didn’t even flinch.
I did manage to coax a couple of shots out of my crummy battery, enough, again, to prove that they were there, but it was a golden opportunity for some once-in-a-lifetime shots.
Remarkably serene birds, I only found out afterwards that there has been a notable irruption of waxwings from the continent this winter, unlikely to be often repeated.