Friday, December 23, 2016

Agony Birding. A Christmas Story.

Barbara is heading our way for the weekend.  Looks like the only bird to see for a day or two will be the Christmas Turkey.

Storm Barbara

Meanwhile, I thought Agony Aunts were for the red tops and glossy magazines, not the birding press? Seems I’m mistaken as I found a snippet in this month’s copy of Birding Monthly under the column heading 'Ask Dorothy - Birding problems – Advice about ID, Photography, Birding Gear and Personal'. 

Suitably intrigued, I read more. It's an unhappy tale but a cheerful ending could be in sight.

“HELP! My partner’s lost his birding mojo.” 

"DEAR DOROTHY: I first met my partner 3 years ago on a cross country trip to Spurn to twitch a Red-flanked Bluetail. Frank was stood in a line-up of birders scanning for the bluetail. As people moved around chatting I found myself next to this good-looking guy who carried all the latest birding gear. He didn’t seem to notice little me even though I asked him lots of questions about birds, Spurn and Yorkshire in general. I quizzed him about his brand new top-of-the-range-optics and his life list, but at best I received a mumble or two in grudging recognition of my presence. I was impressed though when after a minute or two Frank latched onto the target bird as all the other dudes around just gossiped away. Eventually we grilled the bluetail together as he slowly loosened up enough to chat for a while. After what seemed an eternity he let me raise his monopod and then to test his Optigrand Super Zoom. That was a very impressive piece of kit, I can tell you. 

Well to cut a long story short Frank and I became best buddies, and pretty soon a pair of inseparable lovebirds. But now three years later and after many a shared tick and twitch all over the UK, Frank has mutated into a birder I don’t recognise. He no longer gazes at Birdforum, has cancelled his subscriptions to Rare Bird Alert and Birdwatch magazine, is reluctant to hit the road for new birds, and has even joined the RSPB.  Just last week I had a plane chartered to fly to Shetland for a First for Britain, a Greener-green Warbler (Phylloscopus borinus), but he said “No thanks chuck, I have a survey to complete, and then I need to enter my Birdtrack records on the PC”. The final straw came yesterday when he 'came out' as being a closet member of the BTO. 

What has happened to my Frank? Have I lost my birding soulmate? Is there life after twitching? 

Betty. Bootle, Merseyside". 


"DEAR BETTY: My heart goes out to you. Many of us steadfast twitchers are mortified when a valuable member of the birding community is lost to the questionable pursuits you describe. It sounds like your Frank is in danger of becoming something we call an “ornithologist”. It’s a nasty illness that affects the weak-willed and the delusional. Very often such people are loners and less well-adjusted to the social and communal aspects of birding.

Try dialogue and compassion. Be tolerant and persuade him of the errors of his ways through displaying how much you still care for him. Try showing him pictures and videos of all the good birds he’s missed lately: that should bring him to his senses. 

If all of that fails, and as a last resort, I recommend Surveygone™, available from your local chemist. It’s guaranteed to erase all anti-twitching thoughts and to end the compulsion for taking part in bird surveys. It's guaranteed to be successful 99.9 per cent of the time. Just put a few drops in his morning coffee for a week or so. He’ll be right as rain in no time and back to normal by Christmas. 


Best wishes and Good Luck. DOROTHY"

Betty and Frank, Birders 

So Dear Friends, you may think that birding is a fun, harmless pursuit, but there are hidden dangers. Birding can result in real tears, broken relationships, and having to seek professional advice from complete strangers. 

A Happy Christmas to all my readers but do take care out there in The World of Birds. It’s a dangerous place. 

Linking today to Anni's Birding.


Stewart M said...

Birding is a bit like blogging in that regard - I feel there is no hope for birders who blog! (oh...........)

Hope you have a great Christmas - Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Stuart Price said...

My wife rarely seems interested in my monopod anymore............

David Gascoigne said...

Any woman who is prepared to raise my monopod and test my super zoom is the one for me! Hell, just using the term super zoom gets her in my good books!

GreenComotion said...

Very nice post, Phil.
Those love birds remind of a pair I used to have.
They were Fisher's Lovebirds.
Wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
Peace :)

Lowcarb team member said...

Merry Christmas Wishes ...

All the best Jan

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Merry christmas.. Best wishes to you and your family.

Jenn Jilks said...

You birders are such characters!!!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Post and comments all made me laugh.

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