Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to 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!


Monday 4 August 2014

No worries - be happy!

I didn't think, nor intend, my last post to be any more than an observation based, purely, on the thoughts of Mr. Gale - ref: Pan-listing and the dilution of skill in order to chase a number.
I never have, and never will, see that competition has any role in the enjoyment of the natural wonders of this world. It's only my opinion; so I'm perfectly happy to accept that there will be individuals who see these things very differently, not an issue. As for "sharpening my claws and going for the jugular!" - a little bit too dramatic from where I'm sitting (great for the blog stats though - so cheers Steve!)
A juvenile Wren on our bird bath - one, of a brood, which was raised in an adjacent garden
My own slant might not be mainstream but, it is, none the less, worthy of my time and efforts as I seek enjoyment (and increased knowledge) from my encounters. An expert I'll never be - Rod Hutchinson once described such a being as this "X = the unknown quantity; spurt is a drip under pressure!" Genius - for those who don't know, Rod is a carp angling legend! So where is this post going?
Juvenile Willow Warbler - one, of two, that were flitting around the buddlieas

The weekend started, on Friday, with another fishless session on the R.Stour. No big deal, I know what went wrong and have many options open to me - I came home frustrated but not beaten! Bev and I had Harry stay overnight, on Saturday, and our schedule was very much fitted around our grandson.
The local pair - failed again?
Loads of stuff in, and around the garden, to keep me interested and a Sunday morning stroll around Newland's was rather enjoyable - why there are so many dragon and damselflies, when there is no open water, is a puzzle, but I'll continue to find pleasure in the encounters rather than dwell on the logistics. I'd hoped for an early Whinchat or Wheatear (there have been a few around the coast) but had to make do with a couple of juvenile Yellow Wagtails. I finished on a rather negative note - the local Swallows appear to have failed for the second year running; the adult pair were on the wires, by the farmyard, yet no sign of any youngsters - not good!

It is true that I enjoy/appreciate much of what is to be found in the countryside, plants not quite up to the mark - as yet! I have been very fortunate to have seen (been shown) many remarkable creatures as I've progressed along lifes' highway. The need to display my prowess, via a league table, is something which I find obscene and, thus, why I find the whole concept of "Pan-listing league tables" so repulsive.
Not a major issue - just don't ask me to join in; I've been multi-taxa interested since my eyes were opened to the natural world - if this is a problem then it's all yours!


  1. Peace and love from this pan-lister!

    1. Steve - one of the greatest bits of grafitti I've ever seen "Give peas a chance!" - over the M25 near Watford
      I await your offering with much anticipation - my response will, however, probably dissappoint?
      I'm fucked off with fighting - if it's your gig, then get on with it. The desire to turn every aspect of life into a stage where someone is better than another, based upon a computer statistical analysis isn't why I got interested, we make our beds - so let us lay in them! - Dyl

  2. Dyl mate, such anger lol :)

    I'm just back from one of those PSL meetings that we PSLers do from time to time. This won't really allay any of your 'worries' regards the whole PSL concept but of the dozen or so of us that turned up it was really very interesting for the rest of us to note how a certain someone with a bigger-than-most list was pretty much useless at most things - to the point of not knowing a Canada Goose call after dark (they called it as Mute Swan yet have way over 400 bird species to their name!!!!!!!) Yet others with far lower numbers on their list proved to be adept at spotting stuff, even if they were pretty clueless as to what it was they'd found. So yes, the whole numbers game is just for fun really and has only a moderate bearing on a person's actual identification skills and their proficiency in the natural world. How many twitchers out there (especially in this last 10 years) have amassed huge lists but are completely without fieldcraft and basic ID skills? I can certainly think of a few. They are the people that have almost completely driven the joy of a twitch from my heart. Their huge lists are more testament to their ability to travel and bunk work than birding prowess, you know what I'm saying Dyl? Seems the days of working your way through the birding obstacles are no more. Everything is a cheap gimme. Which truly sucks.

    Anyway - I digress. Personally I've come away from the weekend with about 30 species I've never knowingly seen before, from plants to beetles to flies. And I think the "knowingly seen" wording is possibly quite important here. If someone knowledgeable in a field shows me something I don't know, I make a note of it, take a few pics and check everything relevant I can once I'm back indoors again (they may be knowleadgeable but they can still cock up an ID). That way I hope to have gained at least an inkling into the workings of the species. Ideally enough of an inkling that I'd at least recognise it if I saw it again (even if I don't quite remember the name - which is what usually happens...) The fact that my species tally has gone up a notch is pleasing, but hardly paramount.

    I also left an awful lot of stuff off my list from the weekend. Beetles that I didn't see properly, maybe a name called out and a finger pointed at a 2mm dot in the beating tray. Assuming I even looked at the right dot. I can't "claim" something like that for my list! I'd may as well carry a dictaphone and just scribble everything down onto that excel spreadsheet once home if my standards were that shoddy! I have absolutely no desire to be a Pan-species Twitcher with the sad lack of skills and personal ability that modern twitchers so often show. But I do like to be able to identify what I'm looking at as I wander through a field, patch of woodland, rockpool or even whilst sitting on a wall staring at the brickwork whilst waiting for the bus. I am undoubtedly a Pan-species Lister, it's what I am. Doesn't make me a bad person though, lol.

    Take care Dyl, I love the way your blog swings from tight lines to angrily worded lines to purely sublime lines!

    PS - you still up for that beer (or ten) sometime this lifetime, mate??? :)

  3. Seth - sweet music to my ears! If all that PSL is - is for fun; then remove the league table and you're on to a winner - attempting to become a better all round naturalist, absolutely no problems with that desire - it's my life long passion to continure to expand my knowledge base and share my experiences with my peers and family. That beer (or three) might be as soon as September? There's a chance that Steve will also be up for it?
    Take care and keep looking - just don't use the exercise as a demonstration of one upmanship! It's our grandchildren's heritage that we are talking about. If we allow it to become little more than a numbers game; who will care once we've moved on to the next level? These kids need excitement and reality if they are to be stimulated into caring for our planet, and its' natural treasures - taxonomy and splitting "Icelandic" Meadow Pipits is all very well - but we need to get back to why we started out on this journey if we are to get this next custodian generation involved. How many kids on your weekend sojourn? I already know the answer to that and therein lies the biggest threat to our wildlife. Pete Alfrey is fighting against development (an incinerator) within the Beddington Farmlands area. These big financial noises will only need to hang on for twenty years and all of us, old farts, will have given up the fight and there will be no-one left to wave the banner.
    I care not, a jot ,how any individual derives pleasure from our natural history - my dislike of competition is purely a personal viewpoint and not, in any way, meant as disrespect to those individuals who gain enjoyment from the pursuit. It is surely better that people are out there and looking than staying indoors and not caring about the environment/ecosystems which surround them?

    This blog is a diary of my recent journey, the prospects of a book are forever getting closer - there can be no surprises that my head goes wandering down some very suspect avenues as I revisit some of my crazy past?

    Many thanks for taking the time to comment - as always - Dyl

  4. The only demonstration of one upmanship I'm good for is arm wrestling and being a bigger drunk than the next guy! I didn't intend to come across in the fashion I evidently did in my above rambling comment. There WAS a youngster at the PSL meet, Robert J Smith. He works at Holme NOA in Norfolk and is maybe 20? Same kinda age as a few of his mates also into finding stuff in their part of Norfolk. Your grandkid's heritage isn't doomed just yet, Dyl! :)