Friday 8 January 2016

Patch Ethics - Part 1

I've a feeling I got a bit above myself in yesterday's post, and think I should clarify things re my new patch.

Firstly, Cogden is not a discreet patch in itself; it is merely a part of the much larger 'West Bexington & Cogden' area, which is a birding patch of long standing. The fact that I see Cogden as separate is neither here nor there, and is just my own approach to birding there; at this stage I think it's unlikely I will stray over to West Bex much. That said, another Caspian Tern might get me walking along the beach a bit further than usual...

Secondly, Cogden isn't just my patch. Despite having so far met just two other birders there (and one of those by arrangement) and suspecting this will probably be the norm, I am very conscious that Cogden has seen a lot of dedicated effort over the years, and still does. In the excitement of wading into a new birding chapter I think I've overlooked that point to some extent. Regretfully I think it shows in some of what I've written on this blog, in that I may well come across like some sort of pioneering trailblazer, which of course I am not.

The reality is that I am very much the new boy.

If there is one thing I have learned in well over 30 years at this game it is the importance of getting on with your fellow birders if at all possible. So far I've been dead fortunate in that regard. In all the patches I've shared with others I can - not surprisingly - think of several trivial issues, but not a single case of anything serious. We're all different of course, but by making allowances and compromises accordingly it tends to work out okay.

When we are young I guess there can be the petty jealousies and whatnot that are a consequence of youthful vigour and misguided enthusiasm, but I suppose the fact that most birders these days are also bus-pass carriers means they've pretty much mellowed out with age, and in any case daren't risk anything that interferes with their hypertension meds...

Without doubt one of the greatest pleasures to be had from working a patch is in sharing your finds. To do that, of course, you have to find stuff. I'd better try and pull my weight.

Yes, massive joy, both in the giving and the receiving. Thus...

Sharing 1.   Guess who found the Surf Scoter!
Sharing 2.   Guess who needed - and was especially grateful for - the Stone-curlew!

Finally, an observation. In the blogs that I read the most - the very active ones anyway - there seems to have been a comments explosion! Why is this? Since I resurrected NQS a couple of months back I am pretty sure the number of comments I am getting is far above what I remember previously. There is actual dialogue going on. A few posts that I've read elsewhere in recent times have lamented the apparent shrinking of the blogosphere, and hinted at it being an ailing medium. To me - at the moment anyway - it appears in rude health!


  1. Gav, what drives my birding is finding something for others to look at. It's the only thing I can think of which can justify the effort I've made (and to avoid having to submit a written description should I fluke a biggy). Ironically, I haven't much appetite for twitching others finds - I need to work on this failing.
    At the other end of the scale is purposeful suppression.
    When I saw the 'mushroom cloud' picture over Portland, I thought of the inhabitants of Beddington Sewage Farm. Some time in 1984.

    1. Ric, I too have little appetite for twitching nowadays. I'm happy to go for something on the odd occasion I feel the urge, and to not bother when I don't. I never feel obliged to, which is nice.
      Beddington. Not my favourite place in the world...

  2. A comments explosion? Pfft.

    I need to provide some enticing material (bait), evidently!

    1. Ah, yes, I suppose it's never been too hard to find hyperbole on this blog. Sorry!

  3. Good luck at your 'patch'...I love hitting the same area again and again and finding great stuff on occasion...even better if you can share it with others.