Sunday 8 January 2017

Two shades of Twitter

Mrs NQS and I have just had a couple of days away at Lyndhurst in the New Forest on one of those short break hotel deals. If the weather was okay we wanted to try for Great Grey Shrike and Hawfinch, both of which we haven't seen for many years. It struck me that Hawfinch in particular was one of those species where local birders might know of a reliable site that doesn't necessarily make the bird information services on a regular basis, if at all, so I thought I would try Twitter. My request for gen on both species received several responses and we ended up with four Hawfinch sites and one for GGS. In the event we scored at the first Hawfinch site we tried, with good views of 3+ birds, and spent the rest of the day predictably yomping across a million acres of New Forest for no shrikes at all. A single Dartford Warbler was some compensation I suppose. At last knockings we tried a Hawfinch roost site, along with a dozen other hopefuls, but they didn't show.

Of course you can never rely on birds to play ball, but it's nice to know that you can rely on a good response from birders on Twitter. Although I'm not a huge social networking fan I have had very positive experiences with Twitter, especially whenever I've tried using it for something constructive like the above.

So there you go, a big thumbs-up for Twitter there, and for my fellow Dorset/Hants birders.

However, Twitter isn't all sunshine and roses. For example, here are a couple of very recent tweets from Portland...

To put these two tweets in context it is helpful to read the following clip from the Portland Bird Observatory website...

I have every sympathy with the obs warden, Martin Cade; it cannot always be easy balancing the welfare of birds against the release of bird news information. So when you are repeatedly faced with individuals who ignore your well-publicised requests to stick to rights-of-way etc, well, there's only one option really.

Back when I first started birding the PBO warden had a reputation for being less than friendly towards visiting birders. Birders today simply do not appreciate how fortunate they are in comparison, and an inconsiderate minority abuse that goodwill on a depressingly regular basis. In recent times it always seems to be rogue photographers who get the headlines, so what is it about carrying a camera/long lens combo that gives them some weird sense of self-exemption from the behavioural standards which responsible birders accept for themselves, and expect of others? Is it that they are not in fact birders at all, and are therefore simply ignorant of such standards? I can't accept this. After all, they must get much of their information from birdy websites, so even if they're not birders as such they cannot possibly be unaware of how to behave. No, I can only conclude that they are just horribly selfish people.

Evidently they cannot see that they are simply peeing into their own well.

Suppression, what's not to like?


  1. Gav, it must be the same mentality the paparazzi have. They want a picture they think no one else has. And because of their inexperience; shows with lack of consideration for birds, they really think they will get one.
    This long lens bird brigade have emerged because they bought cameras as nothing more than toys and have had to find some use for them.
    My own brother in law has forked out £000's on a big lens and has gone aiming it at birds he doesn't know the name of.
    The only lens I've bought of any note was a Nikon 20mm. Fantastic for landscapes and portraits.

    1. I suppose, up to a point, it is always possible to get an even 'better' photograph, so perhaps for some the temptation to do so is too much to resist. However, whatever their expertise re bird ID or photography, it is the complete disregard for the interests of others that winds me up. There's no excuse for it.