NPBW - Day 3

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

To patch or not to patch?

Patch, obviously, otherwise this self appointed ambassador of patch would look a bit silly. But why is patch birding best and why do I have the moral high ground?

There are many methods of birding as you know dear reader. Twitching, reserve hunting, seawatching, patch birding etc etc. Twitching is by far the most vocal of these but as far as I am concerned it is a wholly unsatisfactory experience. We all love rare birds, but all this served up on the pager stuff is rubbish. No effort, no skill, no field craft - just turn up, see it, tick it and bugger off to the next one. Your life list will increase rapidly but so what? Twitches themselves are weird places, and often because birders are weird people (had you not noticed before? Take a look around at your peers one day - weird!) I particularly find it annoying when people greet your binoculars rather than your face, and dear god you don’t half hear a lot of shite coming out of some mouths. I’m not denying the veracity of the facts but do give it a rest! “Uh yeah, I was on Scilly last year with a bunch of guys on an Aquatic and a big shout went up for an Imperial Eagle right..blah blah blah”.

I’m not saying that I won’t twitch, but I doubt very much if I will go for something that doesn’t actually look that great or relatively easy to find without disturbing it to be honest. Admittedly, I am guilty of dragging Mrs Thing to see the White Crowned Sparrow in Cley a while back – but it was a proper good looking bird. The Great Spotted Cuckoo in Norfolk recently is mighty tempting though. Conversely, if I never see another Blyth’s Reed Warbler before I die it will not bother me one jot.
Ok, rant over. For now...
Patch birding. When I grew up (some would like to think that this happened in the fifties) I was interested in watching birds. Some would call this bird-watching. Some may wax lyrical about connecting with the wildlife in remote places (or avoiding hoodies in Fulham in my case) and crack out a couple of hundred words on it, but not I.

I like watching birds. I like to learn about birds. First hand. Outside. And the best place to do this is in my patch, an area that I have chosen and nominated for myself. Simple.

Oh yeah, moral high ground. I can do it on many levels, but how about the birdwatchers code. Anyone remember that?

Well folks, it is a beautiful morning out there so I'm going to stop yacking on and go and watch in all probability the same birds I watched yesterday. Sweet.

A Black-headed Gull doing underrated.


Jonathan Lethbridge said...

I finally dragged my sorry butt out on the patch today, where I was able to marvel at the almost total lack of birds. Quality. I have discovered though that the big pond has lost about 2ft of water since I last saw it, and is a stinking mess. On the plus side it seems very attractive to Herons, and 2 Little Egrets made me happy, despite reading that some person more committed than myself had seen 7 recently. You have the moral high-ground for sure.

Thing said...

Or perhaps that should read 'we'?

Thing said...

Oh, and the Egrets are producing envy in Fulham...

Steve Gale said...

The patch is dead, long live the patch. It never goes away, it just teases us into periods of despair, moments of joy and always calls us back to do it all over again. I'm up for it!

Jonathan Lethbridge said...

There you are, predicting "dull", and you go and get a Greenshank. Talk it down, talk it down, then score!
PS I'm getting one tomorrow.

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