The last time I tried to take an award-winning ornithological photograph, I was 10. A large and incredible bird landed on our roof. My dad whispered, ʻquick, get a cameraʼ. I knew little about birds then. Except that it was not a hadeda, nor a pigeon. From the garden my father snapped away with an ancient Olympus and I rushed to tell my mother we had found a new species and would soon be very famous. She walked outside, looked roofwards, and said, ʻItʼs a peahen.ʼ Disappointment sunk like a clay-pigeon and I was put off birds for about 30 years.

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