At the risk of re-opening old wounds I feel that it is appropriate for me to restate my present views on lists, listing and league tables (within a natural history context). I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions but, at least be prepared to accept that there are possibly others which differ from your own; something I discovered, and now accept, since the first time I posted a blog entry!
Competitive listing is probably what first attracted me to birding. The excitement of a new species, seen in the company of equally enthusiastic; yet relatively inexperienced/novice, birders. Twitching - the compilation of a list - nothing more and certainly in no way does that particular facet of birdwatching aid science, conservation or further understanding of behaviour or feather tracts. One thing which cannot be denied, however, is that it is a very enjoyable way of spending time outdoors in like-minded company.
|Summer plumage American Golden Plover|
Pegwell Bay - found and identified by Francis Solly
|Black Redstart on our bungalow roof.|
If you are unable to get pleasure from this - why do you look?
However, from where I am sitting, I find it increasingly difficult to buy in to this "I must be better than you, cos I'm higher up the league" crap. Leagues are about egos and results, is this where our natural history studies are heading. Are the next generation to inherit a system that is based upon an Excel spreadsheet?
I sincerely hope not. For all the functions that sport is able to satisfy, our enjoyment of the world in which we live is not able to be measured by baseline statistics.
|Silver-washed Fritillary - Corfu|
|Male Common Darter - Turkey 2012|
For many of us, it is the simple pleasure of looking at (not identifying) our fellow inhabitants that creates the enjoyment of being outdoors. If there can ever be a scale for enjoyment - my name might be very close to the top! So what I am really trying to say, I think?. is that everyone can derive the benefits of being in the company of the natural world, just there are many differing ways that we seek to enrich our own lives - enjoyment must surely be the defining measure? If you're not enjoying yourself, and it's not your job; why did you choose it as a hobby? The bottom line is that no-one has to justify why they find any pastime to be of personal interest - "if it lights your candle?" then that's fine by me.