Sunday, 31 July 2016

Running up the down escalator

Listing is a large part of many birders lives. To some, it gives them a reason for getting involved and too the unlucky few it is their reason for being. They feel as if it defines them. It is easy to be 'sniffy' about the whys and wherefores of keeping lists if you are not that way inclined, but, to a certain extent, we all get sucked into it. I have. And at a certain level, I still am.

But when you look at it, listing is an area in which you can never truly be fulfilled. It is an itch that will always need scratching. Even a moderate lister, particularly if in an arena where others around you (say a patch) are listing too, will find the wheels of fortune sending you into moments of highs and others of lows. Today's self-found Wryneck will be forgotten when next weeks dipped Bluethroat rears its ugly head.

It is like running up a very long down escalator. You will never have the energy to reach the top. The best you can hope for is to reach a speed at which you will stay in place. A couple of good birds will send you a few steps further up, but those dips will knock you back again - and if the knocks come thick and fast it can knock some birders off of the escalator all together.

The ones who have it sussed are those who can enjoy the view from wherever they happen to be on the moving steps. There are some who will maintain that they have never stepped onto this escalator at all. I simply don't believe them.

6 comments:

  1. another top post Steve. I spent many years not being able to get to see rare birds for one reason or another, so ended up not being that bothered, not keeping a list, no idea what my UK life list was. I've been doing more listing this year - year list, trying to get the life list up, local patch list. The list I like most of all is the patch list. In particular one blog advised to regularly record every bird on the patch. That's been a real boost to my enjoyment of birding and to my skills. It makes you look at every bird, and every bird is equal. Now which blog was it came up with that particular piece of advice ...

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    1. Thanks DD. Glad that your enjoyment levels are high and that you are being fulfilled. Long may that continue.

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  2. Well as you know Steve, I've never been into, and indeed, dislike greatly, twitching, so I've never took up that form of listing. And this next comment is also completely true, despite being involved with my same patch for thirty years now, I still can't tell you off the top of my head how many different birds I've seen on it. I would have to get a bird book out and tick off all the birds I've seen until I have a total. Probably sounds odd but my enjoyment of being there has never been heightened by keeping personal tallies.

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    1. Doesn't sound odd at all Derek. When you have a love off a place, and feel a connection to it, all else is really a bonus.

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  3. Excellent, as always Steve. I still twitch occasionally - just five times this year - but am increasingly disliking it. It is for the very reasons you mentioned. An itch that always needs scratching. The White Stork is a prime example. I dipped it on Thursday, which put me in bad mood, and when I did see it, the emotion was less intense than the dip. A bit of an anti-climax actually. And then, of course, all that effort to get to Beddington ended up being utterly pointless as it turned up on my doorstep! And that was a shame in a way, because the thrill was nullified by having seen it already!

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  4. And there in a nutshell Neil is the beauty and cruelty of listing...

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