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!


Thursday 29 December 2016

What're you lookin' at?

There was a time, in my not too distant past, when birds and listing (and that included full-on twitching at a county level) were very much part of my life. However, as with all things obsessional, the novelty wore off and the law of diminishing returns took its' toll. I realized that I was simply going through the motions, seeing, but not learning, the species which fortune allowed to cross my path. It was this utter lunacy which cost me my first marriage - a rather expensive lesson?
When Bev and I got together the birding had become far more relaxed as I sought to become a more competent field birder, not a chaser of other people's endeavors. To this end I studied my field guides, listened to endless recordings of calls and songs, and spent as much time in the field as I could manage in order to become more proficient.

Some who saw it said "tristis" - I didn't like the call and opted for "abietinus"
I have been extremely fortunate to have met with, and enjoyed the company of, many exceptional birders - Kent is well blessed in this respect. Since being with Bev, I have also sampled the incredibly diverse world of Mediterranean birding from Southern France, via Menorca/Mallorca, Greece and Turkey - bloody awesome. What have I seen? I dunno - with the recent DNA stuff, I can't honestly be confident about the id of anything I've seen - I didn't take samples, just photos if I was lucky!

Where is this modern development taking birding and for what purpose? If it is about data integrity - then all previous records need consigning to the bin, we can't be certain, can we? What if it's a manouver, by the educated elite, to disenfranchise the bloke on the street - make it a science that is taught at University, not a skill which has been learned in the field over a lifetime of looking? "Twitching" has provided me with some fantastic memories, I've witnessed some extraordinary birds, within a UK context, yet this facet of the birding spectrum is probably the least useful in terms of contributing to our knowledge. It is purely a demonstration of how quickly you can react to message by RBA (Rare Bird Alert - just in case you're an angler reading this stuff)

Probably the greatest waste of time known to mankind? Harmless and fantastic fun, but contributes
zilch to the understanding of birds or field craft. The sellers of petroleum spirit aren't complaining. 
How will anyone be able to enthuse a child who asks "What are you looking at?" - "A bird!"
"What's it called?" - "Sorry, I don't know any more - it used to be called a Stonechat, but that was before field-guides became obsolete!"


  1. A Blue Rock Thrush is the latest reason for a twitcher invasion I see, or at least it's still being called a Blue Rock Thrush at the moment.

    1. Blue Rock Thrush - common as muck if you are able to holiday in the Med? I really enjoyed Steve Gale's post - my comment being very tongue in cheek!

  2. Dyl, I imagine there's a number of twitchers with massive lists who are only too happy to create as much distance between themselves and the rest with anything which counts. New birds via the poop scoop will do.
    Much as I personally tried to become enthused with twitching, I couldn't come to terms with the fact it was all about chasing known birds; rare birds yes, but other peoples finds, second hand, no surprise element.
    Admittedly a twitch with a car full of like minds was fun, but alone I found the activity uninspiring. Birding on a local patch is my thing.

    1. Twitchers with massive lists - no problem. Their contribution to birding = zero, they are egotistical morons, socially disfunctional and embarked on the road to no-where. That is my opinion, doesn't make them wrong or any less able to enjoy their obsessional desires than I do mine. I'm now very much in the same mind as yourself - patch watching is so much more rewarding than seeing something, rare or otherwise, that someone else has discovered.

  3. We have many mass scoping invasions up hear near Cley as you can imagine Dylan. Tempting to knock over one set of steps to see if they all go like domninos! Still, much much better than the seal botherers at pupping time at Horsey who seem to think their need for a shot is more important than the pup's welfare.

    On the way to work at silly oclock today had a buzzard being mobbed by a corvid about 10 foot above my windscreen ..hope the bloke behind had brown pants on!

  4. Twitchers relentlessly pursuing tired migrants, the long lens brigade seeking to get ever closer to their quarry or the noise and litter at a popular carp fishery - anti-social, at best, is the perception. We all have our opinions - doesn't necessarily make us right. As for that guy behind you - he should pay more attention to low flying objects! Have a great 2017 - tight lines - Dyl

  5. I'm aware that another element has entered these activities, be they birding or angling. It's the one where some people realised there was big money to be made. It happened in angling - mainly thanks to Carp being big and greedy and hair-rigs - and twitching due to speed of communication - at an 0900 prices.
    To those of us who have always paid for our hobbies and pastimes with money hard earned, the idea that someone is using those hobbies to get rich at our expense can rankle.

    1. Richie, the opportunism of entrepreneurs, knows no limits. By their very nature they have a gift to spot an opening and exploit it, to their own advantage. I'm confident that you will find this is true for all our pastimes, indoors or outside. It doesn't particularly bother me as I don't get involved in brand label snobbery or keeping up with the Jones's. As an individual I can pick and choose - I don't have to conform to pack behavior or peer group pressure.