Tuesday, 19 November 2013

You know you're a veteran birder...

...when you walk, and not run, if a rare bird is found.

...when you can recall draw-tube telescopes.

...(and you used to own one).

...when you remember when British Birds used to be essentail reading.

...if you still refer to Chiffchaffs as Chiffchaffs, Wheatears as Wheatears and do not have the time of day to place the word Common or Northern in front of them.

...when you take a cushion to sit on when going into hides or for the beach when sea-watching.

...when any journey to a birding destination is marked out by the number of toilet stops.

...when you need reading glasses to write in your notebook.

...if you still use a notebook.

...when you think that your current telescope might 'see you out'

...if you get all nostalgic about being chased off of Minsmere by Bert Axell

...or twitched a Little Egret

...if you need an afternoon snooze after birding all morning

...when you can predict exactly what's going to turn up by looking at the weather forecast

...and remember a time when gulls were just that - gulls

...if you know your bird calls

...(and their latin names)

...if you've had a holiday at a bird observatory

...if you've slept rough at a twitch

...(and hitched there)

...when you have no idea how many species you have seen

...if you can remember the exact dates and details around birding highlights from thirty years ago, but absolutely no idea what you saw last month

(This post is dedicated to the crusty old men who stare seawards from Dungeness beach)

12 comments:

  1. Steve, Oh dear I must be a veteran, and I`m not 60 yet! Although I`d have to replace Bert Axle with Billy Bishop at Cley. Boy, we could have fun with this one, how about these for your Old Bugger credentials: ... if your first bird book was The Observers Book of Birds ...if you`ve seawatched with R A Richardson or P J Grant ....if you wore a parka coat in the field ...if you remember Nancy`s café ...if you`ve become more interested in moths or other flora or fauna ...if you remember sewage farms such as Wisbeach or Perry Oaks ...if you remember when the only British raptor was a Kestrel ... if your first pair of bins cost pounds, shillings and pence ... I`d best stop, there`s loads, point taken, I`m getting old, off for a snooze..zzzz... Cheers, Paul

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    1. Hi Paul, some great additions to the list there - we could publish a book! I can tick off six of your suggestions.

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  2. ....(and their latin names)

    Most of the veteran naturalists I've met often only know the latin names from before some splitter taxonomist has run amok with the species. It's only us newbies with only the most recent version rattling around our heads that get it right!

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    1. Hi Rob, I still use the Latin names I learnt back in the 1970s

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  3. Ach, I often used to tell Gilbert White that his Erithacus rubecula was gay!

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    1. And I bet Thomas Bewick was annoyed with your critiques of his woodcuts!

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  4. Well I ticked 15 of those.
    As for Pauls list above - 5 of those.

    Ones missed from both lists can be blamed for not living or having access to the south of England as a kid.

    How about - I remember Corn Buntings,Water Voles and (White clawed) Crayfish as common as muck and Otters and Buzzards like hens teeth while yank crayfish hadnt been invented.
    Linnets nesting in our garden hedge, market town bird shows, old bird catchers, 10 years olds left to roam the countryside from 6 am til dark without a sign of an adult, zero bird information, the only bird mag was BB and I couldnt afford it, goldfinches only fed on thistles, Collared Doves were good birds, Heinzel, Fitter and Parslow was the market leader, The World about Us on BBC2 on Sunday nights, Graeme Dangerfield was Chris Packham...

    God how old am I.

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    1. Stewart, sounds like an episode of 'Out of Town' with Jack Hargreaves. You are obviously closer to 100 than I thought you were!

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  5. I remember buying the first Birdwatching magazine, entirely in black and white. I remember clambering over Barnes Res fence (and being duly chased out as per norm) when it was just 4 square pits, I remember riding my bike to Staines Res and using my Optolyth (not a draw tube alas, but it was straight through rather than angled which must be worth a few brownie points?) to scan through the newly-establishing Ruddy Duck flock, I remember staking out Magna Carta Lane in the hope of seeing parakeets, I remember kipping in my car for almost three months straight (it ran on leaded) and being utterly uncontactable and without technology for the entire duration, I remember not knowing what dragonfly or fritillary or flower I was looking at. I don't remember Nancy's which makes me sad.

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    1. Just goes to show Seth that youngsters like you possess nostalgia!!

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  6. Steve, I think you have cured me!!

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