A pronounced birding experience

Just a short walk (this may be a recurring theme) yesterday to check that the lesser yellowlegs was still hanging around at Lepe Beach. It was. As were a couple of grey plover, the increasingly tame turnstones and not a lot else. Nothing on the sea apart from boats. Or ships. Or possibly both.

But we made the most of the short break between the downpours and it was pleasant enough way to add a bird to the year list. Not that we’re counting.

Anyhow, on the way back along the path we met a guy with some bins slung round his neck in a birdwatcher rather than boatwatcher sort of way. This usually leads to the “anything about” conversation, but on this occasion this was a man in a hurry and got straight the “is the yellowlegs showing”. (I know it’s a singular – in both senses – bird, but I’m still not sure that shouldn’t be “are the yellowlegs…..”)

After breaking the news that the bird was still still there but had recently just walked out of sight, we managed to reassure him that it was probably on its usual circuit and would be back soon. And that lead to the revelation of the day. Apparently our new birder acquaintance was down from London to see family and friends, and hand been delayed by a family lunch that had gone on half an hour longer than expected. Bemoaning the interference of family life on his birding, he than let slip the bombshell. He was staying in Bohlio.

Bohlio? Bohlio? WTF is Bohlio?

And then the mists lifted, unlike the weather which was now showing signs of definitely being unlifted. He meant, of course, Beaulieu. Which should, of course, be pronounced Byoo-lee.

Or should it?

As you may know, the river Beaulieu was originally the river Exe and only changed to Beaulieu when it was rightly described as a beautiful place in a language that could do it a bit more justice than the guttural Saxon that preceded it.

Inevitably our Hampshire and other accents soon gave the name a pronunciation we could cope with – although we seemed to cope in later years with Beau Brummel.

Anyhow I don’t really care that much about the precise and correct pronunciation – only one in five can can get my relatively simple surname right first time – but I do care that I now have a pronunciation that will forever remind me of late lunches, lesser yellows legs, and birders in a hurry.

Welcome to the land of Bohlio birding.