Friday, 7 January 2011

When the text alarm goes off...

Picture it. Your sitting at home, or in an office, or your walking around the shops, it doesn't matter which one, but the one thing that you are not doing is bird watching. Your mobile phone is close by, within earshot and arms reach. It then signals the arrival of a text message. How do you react?

Increasingly I'm caught between excitement and dread when it happens. A quick look at the phone's screen tells me who has sent it. If it is a birding contact (which it often is) then panic sets in. I start to ask the dreaded question "What have I missed?" I fumble to access the text message. Those short seconds can be filled with a swirling mixture of emotions. I open it. I might breathe a sigh of relief at it only being a report of a flock of Waxwings outside a residential house in Sutton. I might curse at an alert of a Snow Bunting on the mound at Beddington SF. A good patch tick! I will then panic and work out how feasible it will be to leave wherever I am and get on site. Is there enough daylight left? Can I get away with it? Oh, to have such dilemmas! Perversely, if it doesn't involve news of a good bird I might feel disappointed. We all like news and being kept in the loop after all, don't we? And we all like to think that something is going on out there even if we can't be involved. Vicarious birding indeed.

I could, of course, just switch the phone off...

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