This blog used to be about things other than 'what I have seen recently'. Apologies for my slipping into the safety of uploading images of moths from the back garden and neglecting the seething inner me. Such internal energy needs to be released...
My first moan is about the books to be found populating the natural history section in 'all good bookshops'. Whoever orders what appears on the shelves needs to go on a course designed to inform them on what the customers really want. My local Waterstones is a curious mix of the bleedin' obvious, with titles such as 'Johnny Kingdom's 100 species of large mammal to see before you die', 'The RSPB book of Quaint Garden Birds' and 'Bats - they are really nice and not at all scary' vying for attention alongside a plethora of natural history writing which has been infiltrated by a trend in reprinting the flowery diaries of long-dead Victorian gentlemen. If you wanted to buy a selection of field guides to start off exploring and identifying the natural world in Great Britain you'd be hard pushed to find a bog standard field guide for anything. Therefore fewer people will bother to do so, but more will become celebrity presenter stalkers and follow Kate Humble on Twitter.
This activity has me hating myself on a regular basis. Am I really kidding myself that I can possibly identify even a small proportion of the fungi, beetles, flies etc, etc that I come across. Should I confess to being totally incapable of using identification keys. Should I come clean and admit that I have to leave quite a few tortrix moths alone, particularly the ones that look like bird shit. Am I big enough to accept that there must be quite a few stringy identifications on my pan-species list. And does it matter?
My lovely Swarovski scope lies neglected in a cupboard. Even though it came down to Dungeness with me for the month of July I hardly used it. I didn't bird much to be honest. I was looking at plants, insects, watching the Tour de France and imbibing in the odd pint. Call myself a birder? I used to...
Bird food manufacturers
Do they think we're stupid? In the good old days we used to put bread, fat and peanuts out for the birds and the population levels were OK. Now they suggest that we buy all sorts of exotic seed mixes to cater for 'Goldfinches with delicate stomachs' and 'Gluten intollerant titmice' and charge us top dollar to do so. And what happened to buying small bags of the stuff? You need a fork-lift truck and a 7.5 tonne van to get the bloody sacks home! And another thing - we used to spread it out on the grass and let the birds come down and feed. But now we are invited to buy bird feeders that are designed to look like ornate ironwork stolen from the Paris Metro.