We’ve been looking at the sky for weeks. The odd cloud passes, but they’re hanging on to their rain.
After four years of living on a boat we’ve mastered the art of washing in a beaker of water, but still, the tanks are low.
We head for a quick evening run. As we near the ‘Burrowing Owl’ hill, I feel a fat drop of rain on my face, then another. Soon we’re soaking and the gravel track is swimming.
We sprint home, tie metres of awning over the boat, fit in the hose pipe and listen to the sweet sound of rain water gurgling into the tanks.
The rain stops, but only temporarily. In two days’ time the sky will open and not close.
I head out for a midday run in a brief interlude between the torrents. The countryside’s transformed.
A glass of water stretches across the scrubby fields. Turkey shaped Southern screamers protest like donkeys from their marshy hollow. Monk parakeets screech through the air trailing branches for their untidy nests. The oven birds’ hovels have transformed into mansions overnight with the ready supply of mud for their earthen abodes.
Then I hear something odd. A reverberating sound. A bird catapults high in the sky. With a massive loop-the-loop he dive bombs back into his reedy flush.
A snipe! The last time I witnessed this incredible display I was surveying upland birds in Lancashire. This time it’s a South American snipe, same family, different species.
Over 5000 miles separates them and yet they’ve both perfected this mysterious art.