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!


Sunday 21 December 2014

What price being an individual?

A guy that I know - Mark Chidwick (Chiddy to his mates!) - has recently taken the nocturnal photography of owls (in Kent!) to another level. He's learnt the photographic techniques and has patience, venues and equipment to capture images that were un-imaginable pre digital. If you need further evidence have a look at his blog  - http://chiddysbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ (or the image that I've nicked - below!)
I was rather disappointed, although not surprised, that he was being targeted by cyber criticism - these images have been obtained under "artificial" circumstances? Long sessions, in a car, in lonely surroundings are hardly the "tame bird" scenario that is being suggested? But there you go - if you want to live out the "blogging" dream - this stuff comes with the territory.
There is no easy answer to this problem. Some of the flack is a direct consequence of jealousy - I don't have the time, skills, equipment, venue or funds - so tough shit! Others feel that they have the moral "higher ground" - the use of flash photography causing problems with the owls "night vision" - they hunt by sound for fucks sake! A flash-gun doesn't render them deaf!
Mark is out there, pushing the boundaries of what he, and his equipment, can deliver - "always learning" If it was Martin Garner taking these photos no-one would make a murmur? No; you're quite right - Mark hasn't discovered anything that wasn't already recorded in the 1982 Poyser Monograph - The Barn Owl - (ISBN 0-85661-032-1) Bunn, Warburton & Wilson. However, what he has done is found out stuff for himself and, as a result, used the experiences to record some outstanding images.
You can tell - straight away - that I didn't take this photo.
Chiddy recorded this superb shot, of a free flying, wild Barn Owl, somewhere out in the
East Kent farmlands.
Copyright : Mark Chidwick 2014
There is a post on The Hairy Birder http://fleetwoodbirder.blogspot.co.uk/ which bemoans the recent camera wielding antics of non birder - bird photographer - a quality rant! I don't know the details of what Mark has been subjected to - my only advice is to go your own way and enjoy the journey. Whatever criticism is on offer - it surely is not directed towards Mark - a guy prepared to go it alone in order to discover new opportunities? If blogging becomes a chore - stop doing it; simple but; please don't stop enjoying your wildlife encounters because of this cyber poison!


  1. Nicely said Dylan. Having been lucky enough to go out with Chidders Owling, I can confirm that he put the hours into this project and has a number of seriously good rewards for his efforts.

  2. Very nicely said Dylan ( apart from one f word ? ) I know Mark and the work that he has put in deserves some support not mindless criticism.

    1. Mike - I would think it very unlikely that we've ever met? As this is "my" blog; I write what I feel and in the same manner as I would say it, should I be engaged in conversation. My use of expletives is not something of which I am ashamed - if it offends, then you are, of course, perfectly at liberty to make such observations. If my industrial background (and language) is something that renders me a lesser human being - I'll live with that also. I am perfectly happy with myself - I've never sold out, I've never attempted to be something that I am not. Therefore, my support for Mark is genuine and posted for all, who choose, to read. I cannot, and will not, worry about my choice of words when, in a world of free will, there is nothing compulsory about reading this stuff!
      Many thanks for taking the time to post your comment and please feel free to introduce yourself should our paths ever cross - Dylan

    2. Dylan - Thanks for the reply and yes you are right we have not met but i would not hesitate to introduce myself should that change. I of course appreciate all that you say and the total honesty and frankness. It will of course not stop me continuing to read you blog, which clearly I enjoy, and hopefully you will not object too much if I choose to leave you a comment ! Kindest regards


    3. Mike - criticism and differing opinions is something which I fully embrace. It makes for decent exchanges and provides me with a challenge - am I right or do I need to re-assess my stance? There may be occasions when I am forced to see an issue from a, previously, overlooked perspective - all positive and healthy from where I sit. Mindless/senseless slagging or downright rudeness is not conducive to this process and the reason why I made this post. Reading Mark's blog - it was obvious that he is becoming increasingly frustrated by the situation of having to constantly defend himself from this type of abuse.
      He will happily tell you that writing is not his forte - his photos do his talking (very eloquently!)
      So happy that you enjoy my ramblings and, please, feel free to offer whatever comments you see fit - I will never be offended by another opinion delivered in a structured format. Should our paths ever cross - I promise that I don't bite! Have a great Christmas - Dylan

  3. Thanks for your kind words and support,merry Christmas to you,catch up in the new year

    1. Mark - no worries old mate! I will be out and about over the holiday period - probably along the Royal Military Canal for the most part. I might have an evening session on the Lampern Wall - just to watch the harrier roost - in the New Year, Merry Christmas to you and your better half - Dyl