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There’s a whole new lingo to learn when you move more seriously into birdwatching. There’s dipping (missing out on seeing a particular bird), confiding (used to describe a bird that allows good views), twitching (chasing rare sightings, a pursuit that can get obsessive), LBJs (Little brown jobs, describing small brown birds that can be indistinguishable one from the other; interestingly, also applied to fungi), as well as the shortened names for the birds themselves (Blackwit for Black-tailed godwit; Mipit for Meadow pipit but Rockit not Ripit for Rock pipit).

171101 sparrowhawk

The word I like best, though it provides the biggest challenge – indeed, this will be a rest-of-my-lifetime challenge, is jizz, ‘the characteristic impression given by a particular species of animal or plant’. Let me give you an example: I see a bird flying overhead and, though the bird is distant and its exact features difficult to see, I can recognise which bird it is from its silhouette and the way it is flying. I had a moment of great jubilation just this week when I was able to identify a Sparrowhawk flying over a local field, from its outline and its distinctive flap-flap-glide flying pattern.