Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Hole in One

Address the ball, adjust the stance. The glint of the metal shaft as it arcs downwards. The "ktchutt" of the clubhead as it cuts the thatch under the ball. Whack of the ball off the face of the 9 iron. Tee bounces. Silent hope as the ball flies. Whuuppp as it pitches on the green finishing with a gurgle as the ball nestles in the cup. A hole in one.

Golf. I'm not a huge fan. Actually, indifference is probably the best way to describe my feelings towards this sport.

For a golfer a hole in one has to be a top feeling, possibly the top one. You always want to hit a shot like the one I've just described but rarely, if ever, do.

No Albatrosses or Eagles today but a noteworthy encounter with a birdie, in this case a Knot was on the cards for me today.

So I drift down to the shore on a fantastic spring day. From the cliff top the scene is tranquil.


There is a suggestion of mist over the marsh that is rapidly burning off in the sun. A sun that feels properly warm for the first time this year. On the flats the tide is slowly and gentley receeding. I can see several flocks of Knot that if added together would come to at least 20,000. Some are close in. Now this does interest me. Knot are colour ringed as well as the Blackwits and I'm more than a little colour ring starved at the moment. My last rings were seen on February 2nd when I encountered 5 CR Blackwits at Heswall. I'll pop down for a closer look (Tee up).

Grab the Leica telescope (the 9 iron) and head down the steps. Weather and prospect of good birds send a wave of inspiration through my guts, will they still be close by the time I arrive on the sands (hope).

They are all still there and closer in too, this is good. Shoot the tripod legs to full length and steady them in the stand (adjust the stance). Bring the scope up in a sweeping arc, it glints in the sun. There must be 500  Knot in this flock. Light is best on the right hand side so I'll start there. This could be tricky, Knot go fast and have 5 rings (one flagged) to record. Plenty of runnels and gullies to disappear into as well.

Any ringed birds present will take take time to get. I locate the end of the flock (contact) and bring them into focus (impact on the green).

The outermost bird on the fringe of the flock comes to sharpness. It's ringed. (ball in the cup)

A hole in one.

This day had the potential to be great and it is going better than I could have reasonably expected. The ring colours and flag position are noted and the rest of the flock searched. Nothing else, but I know not to be too greedy! This never happens! You never just turn up and read off colour rings of a swiftly moving Knot. I'm sure it won't happen again but for today I'll revel in it and tell anyone who'll listen!

The flock flees across the channels as a Crow flaps past. They join up with the other 19,500 and the Crow induced pandemonium continues. Tranquility is long gone, wing beats causing a great noise over the mud.


By the time the flock settles it is too far away for anymore ring spotting, but I'm not too bothered. I de-deploy the kit and head off to bore someone with the tale of my hole in one....

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