We've all been there as birders - innumerable times over the years. The moment when a complete non-birder either:
1. confidently tells you they have seen something laughably unlikely and won't be told otherwise (usually a Humming-bird nectaring at buddleia)
2. proclaims a Common Crane on the way to work (but wasn't aware that Grey Heron was a possibility)
3. hopelessly tries to describe something and expects you to give them a cast iron ID based solely on it being brown and small
There is though a more sinister fourth possibility, and one that strikes terror at the heart of every garden/patch/county lister - the moment when a non-birder nonchalantly gives you enough of a description to know that something really gripping has been seen but not by you. Worse, the non-birder has absolutely no personal interest in what it actually was, but is just telling you as it may be of interest to you. The glace cherry on this particular sticky bun is when the non-birder is a member of your own household mentioning something that was in the garden yesterday afternoon. Sigh.
Earlier this afternoon, Isabelle managed to muster just about enough teenage conversation to let me know that: 'oh yeah, there was something in the garden yesterday just before it started getting darker, right, while you were out - it was mainly brown and a bit like a pigeon shape body but a bit smaller with a really, like, long straight bill and it looked like it had longer legs than a pigeon .... '
What it actually was will remain unresolved, but against her will I got Isabelle flicking through Collins (1st ed. 1999, Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom, Grant) and she is confident it was 'like the ones on this page' - the page being 151.
I'll get me coat.