The seeds of this post have been knocking about, in the background, for some time now. Again the benefits of getting old will have played a major role in my current mind-set. Looking at birds is part of who I am, a fundamental piece of the journey I've chosen. That I also glean great enjoyment from angling, moth trapping and umpteen other experiences with wildlife, is of no importance within the much bigger picture. For me, however, my involvement with these activities ensures I derive pleasure from a very simple day to day existence. Today birding, just like angling, has to be done on my terms. To get to this juncture means that I've passed through those crazy OCD periods of both "twitching" and "circuit water" speccy chasing.
I really do get the "county listing" thing; I've some incredible memories from that period (1993 - 99) when it was all that mattered in my silly little world. A divorce later and I'm now far more conscious of the negative side of this obsessive behaviour. Doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the experience but, with that wondrous gift of hindsight, might have done things a bit differently if I had my time again? Still, if I hadn't gone through that phase I wouldn't now be with Bev so, as they say, "every cloud ........"!
Of late the guys and gals involved with Sandwich Bay Obs (SBBOT) have enjoyed a series of excellent sightings. For those individuals the enjoyment is unquestionable. Every success is well deserved by the foot soldiers, out in the field, doing the groundwork. This past month has seen Black-winged Stilt(s), Temminck's Stint, White-tailed Sea Eagle (IoW re-introduction scheme), Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Caspian Tern, Kentish Plover and, then today, Eleonora's Falcon all within their recording boundaries. Me? I've not seen any of the birds involved. Not because they aren't worth looking at but, instead, as I didn't find them so am not too bothered. Age does that, if you so wish. With the exception of Sea Eagle, I've found all these species for myself; only Black-wing Stilt and Eleonora's Falcon not within the Kent county boundaries.
The only time when birding now takes on the role of my main focus is when I'm on holiday. Thanks to the pandemic it's not been since September 2019 that binoculars and scope took president over the fishing gear. As the birds I look at have no concept of man-made boundaries, at this stage in my adventure, I'm happy to do the same. I really don't care where I encounter the species, being happy to enjoy the privilege of looking without any form of pressure or competition. Sure it would be great to see one in Kent but, hey-ho, if it's Corfu or Kefalonia I'll savour the moment none the less. Fortunately, now retired, both of these wondrous Greek islands will be visited this year and my self-found year list will be all the longer for it!
We all have the ability to set our own boundaries for whatever we hope to glean from our journey along life's path. That my choice isn't the same as someone else's doesn't matter a jot so long as it doesn't impact upon others. It's not about being right or wrong, it's about being me!