Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Thursday, 31 March 2016

"I don't know" - the alternative option?

I must be bored? This offering has more than a little "Non-conformist" about it! It all started this morning, whilst out in the back garden, and I thought I heard a snippet of Willow Warbler (sub-song) from a couple of gardens away.  I awaited a sighting but, alas, all I got was a tail pumping Chiff for my troubles. After this brief encounter I was away for a wander around Newland's on the "fool's errand" that is a March Wheatear hunt.

The date should read 5th May 2006
As I was on my return leg, that same scenario, did I just hear a Willow Warbler? Funnily enough - the same result when up popped a Chiff (almost certainly the same bird!) So here's the dilemma. I didn't manage to get a single image of the bird, yet I am confident (well fairly) that it was a Chiffchaff!
I will now back track to 2006 and a bird that Don Wilkes had found at Minster SF - all the indications were that it was a hybrid Chiffchaff x Willow Warbler. I managed to get a very inconclusive, digiscoped image, but the primary projection does look a little too long for, nominate, Chiffchaff? It was four years later that I discovered a "mixed singer" Phylloscopus warbler in almost the same place. This time I had my EOS and 500 mm lens so was able to get some better images - still no better off, the parentage of this bird very unclear.

So here's the crux of my post! Does it really matter, so much, that I "have to know what it is?" If I was able to follow the example of some fellow naturalists - those manic souls whose devotion to listing our natural world allows for "token" specimens - surely I would be within the spirit of Pan-listing to have shot these birds in the name of data integrity - after all no-one can argue with a DNA sample. If it's not OK to kill a bird for a tick then why is it acceptable to kill insects, just for an Excel spreadsheet entry? All the time that Pan-listers are unable to id live specimens - they are a laughing stock - lost in some Victorian back water where collecting was par for the course and exactly why I cannot find any common ground or empathy. The whole, competitive, concept stinks - push yourself as far as you dare - just don't turn it into a sport, it encourages cheating!


  1. I don't do lists anymore myself Dyl. When I went through an old diary which listed Richard's, Red Throated and Tawny Pipit, and I couldn't recall seeing any of them, I knew I was wasting my time.
    I've some sort of memory of fish pb's but the numbers have gone.
    By comparison there's some birder down my way who can number every migrant worth the name to the dot.

    1. Rich,
      I keep lists about everything. I've got records of every double figure pike and carp going back to 1981, not just the date, weight and venue, but what rod, reel and bait! My birding, butterfly and moth records are similar, although not as thorough, the only ones that really gets any attention, these days, is my patch stuff. All of this data is purely for my own consumption and has no place in a bigger arena. I don't ask for, or require, a second opinion on what I can and can't include - my lists, my rules!
      I have absolutely no issues with people who wish to push the boundaries of their knowledge and experience - good on them. What I find so difficult to accept is the devaluing of natural history enjoyment by turning everything into "league tables" and the resultant egotistical "I'm better than you" nonsense associated with competition.
      Obviously, it's only my opinion and each to their own. If others find comfort in such activity - then who am I to question their right to be involved? As I stated at the start of the post - I was bored and subjects like this are great for the blog stats!
      All the best - Dyl