Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Birdwatching Fraternity

Not our normal Aigronne Valley Wildlife post...
but the weather is dull... and some humour is needed!

Birdwatchers come in all shapes, sizes and types...
these are just some of the "species" that can be observed in the wild....
especially now... with the migration in full swing!!

The Birdwatching Fraternity
by Tim

[cartoons by Seppo and Rohan]

The occasional birdwatcher....
cartoon by Seppo


The Occasional Birdwatcher
Weekend vagrant...
Has a good pair of secondhand bins...
occasionally a cheap 'scope...
and a wobbly tripod...
carries a dog-eared original '60s copy of Collins...
that they've had since they were fourteen...
tucked in the pocket of an old water"proofish" coat...
gets out at weekends if the other half allows!
If married, has the sprog in tow!!
Somewhere at home is an old RSPB spotter's list...
with one dedicated to a Life list...
ticked in many different colours...
with lots of gaps!!


On his site Rohan posted a poem and a cartoon...
he's now posted a fully illustrated version...
it sums up perfectly the problems that some birds create...
for the birdwatcher.
[There was an Olive-backed Pipit in Norfolk this w/e...
and a Blyth's Pipit on the Isles of Scilly!
]

The Birder
Often to be seen at weekends...
rare vagrant during the week...
has bins, 'scope and a decent tripod...
nowadays, often carries a "bridge" camera...
with a 20x to 30x zoom ability.
Has a first edition of the more recent Collins...
often plastic covered.
Might well be single....
or have an understanding partner...
Much rarer sub-species is...

It's no use... it was up against the sky...
I'll need another look at it... perhaps it will come lower!?
The Paired Birder
As for The Birder...
but this will be a couple...
one struggling to keep up under all the gear!!
The other "travels lite"...
sometimes have their chicks in tow...
which can cause havoc for other serious Birders who have never had chicks...
however, the chicks can be palmed off onto older Birders whose youngsters have long flown the nest...
and will chickmind and enjoy passing on their knowledge to a younger generation.
These chicks will very rarely be seen in their 'teens...
but can reappear as they reach their young adulthood...
no real research has been done in this field...
but rumour has it that they retreat into darkened caves...
and perform strange acts upon tablets and computer screens...
called "gaming"!

"Patchers" will often have excellent records of migratory species!

The Patcher
Out as often as is possible...
but never willing to to travel far...
decent quality bins and 'scope...
good SLR camera and assorted lenses....
record books, a couple of field guides [one on "jizz" perhaps]...
always has a notebook on the go... or a page-a-day diary...
often looks miserable if an entry can't be made!
Often has a dog... the excuse for numerous walks around "the patch"...
the back garden, if there is one, tends to be converted...
into a haven for birds!!

Not a species to be dismissed lightly...
The Patcher is an important part of the naturalist research community...
often a "Citizen Scientist"...
their observations cover many years for the same area...
can evolve into "The Wildlifer" but remain as a 'patcher'...
this adds to the value of their records!!

Occasionally to be seen as a vagrant "off patch"!!

Confusin' the SeaWatcher!
The SeaWatcher
Similar to the Patcher... but much hardier...
spends very long periods sitting in one place...
on damp shingle, in dunes...
or on clifftops...
trying to spot Pomarine Skuas, Such'n'Such's Petrel or JoeSoap's Shearwater...
and have very large 'scopes and SLRs with extremely long focus lenses...
the latter to photograph the dot...
for identification and proof that they have seen the damned thing...
and it isn't that they've been sitting in one place for so long...
and they've got "floaters" from staring at grey sea and grey sky for six hours.
They will know their stretch of coast exceptionally well...
they keep extensive records...
and again play an important part in record keeping for science.

However, both the above species would play an even bigger scientific role...
if someone doing research could get their hands on all those records!!!

The sexes are the wrong way round... but this will be recognised by someone we know!!


The Wildlifer
As for Birder, with the qualities of the Patcher...
started as a Birder... but discovered other things along the way...
so the couple of field guides have become...
field guides [asst'd]....
birds, plants, insects, fungi, mosses and liverworts, butterflies&moths...
the latter in addition to the insect book...
they carry lots of notebooks... as well as all the other gear...
often single or divorced...
always has need of a car...
but some can be seen on bikes...
including one in Britain on a converted tandem [for one]...
there are some biking birders, too.

Number two... the Wildlife Photographer
From Rohan Chackravati's "The 11 Types of Wildlife Photographers"
which is here...


The Wildlifer can evolve into the The Wildlife Photographer...
this species may travel lighter...
but often not...
the guides may have been left at home...
but a lot of "glass" and other accessories have replaced them!


Has this ever happened?
Very possibly...
there is great kudos attached to being the person....
who spots the bird first!!



The Twitcher
Perhaps the most well-known...
a lot of this species are to be found in sudden eruptions at remote sites.
These are the Skuas of the species...

If a field has crops growing...
most twitchers couldn't give a ****!!

Can be a pest to permanent residents...
and can also cause terrible damage to habitats...
especially fragile ones...
if a large number gather in one place, the surroundings get trampled severely!

Twitchers at Cley, Norfolk...
this bit of Cley is normally VERY quiet!!

The more "juvenile" of the species will behave very irresponsibly...
breaking into peoples' property and couldn't give a damn about anything....
but getting a sight of that "twitch"!!

The amount of equipment carried varies considerably...
but always involves a pager or other means of instant communication...
always has an excellent pair of binos and a very good 'scope...
if one of their means of communication is a mobile 'phone...
then they will have the 'scope adapter...
for that combination of lens and 'phone!
It will probably be an EyePhone...
they will, also, probably have a tablet...
in fact an EyePad... major or minor...
the purchase of these is because you cannot get Collins or the BWPi for an Android!
In fact a lot of naturalists carry these....
mainly because all the worthwhile identification "Apps"....
are only released for EyePads and EyePhones.

The Chequebook Twitcher has ALL the equipment!!


The Chequebook Twitcher
The ultimate raptor of the Birdwatching Fraternity...
has all the latest equipment...
access to fast transport...
access to "loadsamoney"...
willing to pay to have someone "bumped" off a plane...
if young... has inherited a fortune...
if middle-aged... is self-employed as a consultant...
if retired... they are spending the kids' inheritance!!
They don't have a pager... they have multiple pagers...
They have a life list... that runs to several volumes....
Like all "twitchers"... they "tick" and move on...
they have no real knowledge of the birds...
instead, rely on others to "let them know"!
Because there is always a real birder...
usually local...
at any rarity sighting...
for them it will be a...
......"mega"!!! 
Not a "twitch"!!

Dedicated to all those Blue-nosed Coldtails...
who braved the elements to see the Red-flanked Bluetail....
at Holkham in Norfolk this week! !!
Another one of Seppo's cartoons...


As you may have gathered from the above....
I'm not very impressed by "twitchers"....
or "tickers" of any persuasion!
Get a life...
there is a "patcher" I follow...
his blog is called "Birds and Beer"...
and includes a list of Norfolk pubs that are good for watching birds from...
that is real luxury birding...
Pauline and I were out with the Leeds RSPB to the Wirral...
it was bitterly cold... we retreated to a nearby pub...
found a window seat that overlooked the marsh...
and watched seven spoonbills feeding...
just outside the window!!
That's birdwatching luxury...

Perhaps we should just let them fly around us and say
"There's yet another bird over there!"
-----ooooo00000ooooo-----


I was inspired to write this after reading another blog I follow....
written by a Norfolk birdwatcher who coined the term "chequebook twitcher"!
Thanks, Penny! And the Red-flanked Bluetail is dedicated to you...

-----ooooo00000ooooo-----

Thanks also to the two cartoonists featured here...
Seppo Leinonen from Finland....
and The Green Humourist,  Rohan Chakravarty from India....
both of whom put their cartoons up as Creative Commons artwork...
both their sites have some wonderfully drawn environmental 'toons...
and I can't draw 'toons!!

Seppo
Rohan

Posted by Tim 

6 comments:

Susan said...

LOL. I recognised myself in the fly cartoon even before I realised you'd put a comment under it :-) I grew up with Paired Birders and was consequently exposed to all sorts of wonderful people in all sorts of wonderful places. It wasn't until I left home that I stopped going on outings, and really only took it up again once we moved to England. I'd like to be a Patcher and a Wildlifer, but I'm not really disciplined enough to be good at either. At heart I'm a bit of a Twitcher (except that I'm not prepared to travel far specifically to see something not yet on the list, and my list isn't birds). I like the competitive element of keeping a list, but I enjoy the thrill of being lucky enough to see the beast too.I'm always disappointed if I can't get a photo, but would rather see the thing and not get a photo than not see it at all. I'm always especially pleased when my sighting is on my patch. I am most definitely not a Sea Watcher. I can't think of anything more uncomfortable, boring and ghastly :-)

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Brilliant and ALL so very true... We are not even going to try to classify ourselves...

GaynorB said...

Fantastic. It certainly made me smile.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

Really funny - some great observations (on the human species), the cartoons are excellent. Amelia

Gopal Goel said...

V good sarcasm and lot of fun

Able Lawrence said...

Patcher here. Amen