Ornithologically speaking, the term Twitch, used to describe the pursuit of a rare bird & which originated in the early 1950s for the nervous disposition of Howard Medhurst, a birdwatcher, is acceptable only if the twitcher finds the chase. Fail to tick the twitch & most avid birders are left gripped-off, particularly if the bird is seen by someone else. If, however, one was to attempt a twitch which proves neither twitchable nor chaseable, for a smorgasbord of excuses, then you would have dipped out… Rarities are stringy or considered dubious in record by those who dip out …

An important caveat for the ornithologically-uninitiated – the Suppression of a rarity ie: the act of concealing a rarity from other avid pot or tick-hunters [listers] is a capital ie: tar & feather offence within the confines of the birding community.

The bell tolls for those who Suppress a tick ..

Twitcher’s guide to longevity –

  • Successful twitchers should expect to cock-a-leekie if they intentionally crow the rooster in a gripped-off stew of green envy.
  • Crying fowl without the pixels to backtrack the claim is an offense.
  • The bell, in the end, tolls for those who suppress a tick.
  • To dip is to grip-off – your successful sympathies are best kept suppressed. 

Twitchers deprived of all that is normal & who are captivated / cast under a spell of magic by the merest whiff of a rarity, are bewitched. A bewitcher is sad – don’t be a hater..

The merest whiff….

I’ll let you in on a secret – two bewitchers boarded a plane to KZN’s Richard’s Bay hopeful of a Franklin’s Gull no-one had seen for a week & surprisingly dipped .. The same bewitchers, undaunted & tireless, hired a car, crossed borders [Swaziland] & drove the 8 hours to the Kruger National Park for an Egyptian Vulture belatedly reported at least a week earlier. Imagine their surprise when the bird was not at roost in the spot first reported…

We’re just a tad gripped-off...


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