A Common Quail was calling from a small patch of greenery, across the mostly empty car park. Sitting in a cafe, I open my notebook and wrote it down, then look around for someone I know to share the bird, but I knew no other guests.

The only strange thing about this observation, as I realised when I woke up a few seconds later, was that what I mentally transcribed wasn’t its “wet-my-lips” (or the Serbian onomatopoeia “puch-pu-rich”) but “whip-poor-will”!

Opening my eyes in the Kastel Mariette eco-lodge in the Deliblato Sands Nature Reserve, Serbia, I wondered was the sound coming from outside the window or was it merely a dream.

Soon, loud wet-my-lips, wet-my-lips came just out of the window – I never heard it from such a close range.

Hence, I correctly IDd the bird in my sleep and entered the observation into my notebook in my sleep (I remember once waking up with a strong urge to enter yesterday’s observation into eBird, only to realise seconds later that it wasn’t real, it was in a dream).

What I find strange is, why wasn’t I more liberal, why stick to reality in a dream? I mean, IDing it as a, let’s say, Rosy-faced Phoenix, would have been perfectly correct for a dream. But, clearly, not my dream.

Also, the idea that just seeing or hearing isn’t enough, that obsessive urge to write it down, to prove it to myself. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t exist, like it never happened.

When I told my wife of my dream, not surprised at all she immediately answered: “Was it coming from the garden?”

Do you dream of birds and birding? Not day-dreaming, but properly, in a sleep? What about your dreams, what do they look like?

Quail by Guerin Nicolas / Wikimedia Commons
Photos (2) by Kastel Mariette


Written by Dragan
Dragan Simic is obsessively passionate about two things – birding and travelling in search of birds, and that has taken him from his native Balkans to the far shores of Europe and the Mediterranean, southern Africa, India and Latin America. His 10,000 Birds blog posts were Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards. Birder by passion and environmental scientist by education, he is an ecotourism consultant, a field researcher and a bird blogger who always thinks that birding must be better behind that next bend in the road, and that the best bird ever is – the next lifer. He tweets as @albicilla66