Monday, 15 January 2018

Too much of the 'H' word

You can refer to it as a case of 'pots calling kettles black' or it being a severe example of hypocritical behaviour, but I have come to the conclusion that social media is overdosing on Hawfinches. There, I've written in down, we are bloated on Hawfinches. Full up. Satiated.

It started so discretely last October, with modest but higher numbers than usual being recorded flying over the Home Counties, moving as if on visible migration. After a few days of this many birders decided to take a look for themselves and, who'd have thought it, loads more were found, including some sizeable flocks. After a while the flyovers became site faithful flocks and every man and his dog camera got to eat at the 'Hawfinch table'. Blog posts and tweets were full of them - hundreds and thousands of words and pictures describing just what was happening across the country. But, as we all know, such ornithological happenings do not possess a 'data full' level - and so still the photographs, posts and tweets came - from the pokey little dots on top of trees to feather perfect close ups; from brief reports of counts to expansive lyrical essays. It's the same if Waxwings turn up en masse or a long-staying rarity becomes twitcher friendly.

Even though we know that everyone has seen and read enough about 'those big-billed finches' we still tweet and post, suffering from a collective strain of coccothraustes Tourette's. It begs the question if the reason that we repeat this stuff ad nauseam is to remind others that we are a continuing part of this historic event, for that is exactly what this is - I doubt that there have ever been so many Hawfinches in the country at the same time. Of course, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter that we are posting and tweeting and snapping away beyond the bounds of necessity. It is, after all, a celebration. But there is something about all this, (in mid-January and after three months) that is so old hat. Repetitive. Unoriginal. And this post is just another example of that...

So, until I get a decent picture of one, or find some in a different location, or just have nothing else to post about, I will not be mentioning that species name again.

Possibly.

13 comments:

  1. Must have seen nearly 20 but haven't got a picture of a single one yet.
    It's difficult to say whether I'm running out of time yet!

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    1. Arjun, I'd be very surprised if we don't see some big flocks in Surrey before the end of March.

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  2. Ha ha, I actually have Tourettes, probably why I never see a hawfinch, all the flapping scares them off

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    1. I hope that flippant comment of mine wasn't offensive to you Simon. Apologies if it was!

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  3. With me I,m just uncomfortable with beginning to feel blase about them, it just feels wrong !

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    1. I'm not bored with seeing them at all Laurence and actively go out searching for them, returning to their haunts time and time again - but, as you have said, there is a social media overload!

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  4. Exactly, I've not had a Hawfinch free birding day for some time, and not taken one picture of any of them, great days..

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  5. Hoo-bloody-ray, no more rubbing salt in the wounds Hawfinch posts.

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  6. I know the feeling Steve. Up here were are suffering from a Chough overdose. Just one lost individual that is the centre of attention and hundreds of pics and discussion while 50 miles away in Wales there are hundreds of them. Chuffin daft!

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    1. We are all guilty of it Phil, but take a step back and it is all madness really...

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  7. Lets face it Steve, Hawfinches tick all the boxes. They are scarce, they are shy and finally they look fantastic.
    I've been guilty of supplying information on the whereabouts of these birds lately on an almost daily basis.
    Though I'm tempted to give up mentioning these birds, there seems to be evidence that a lot of people have still to see them at all anywhere, despite looking.
    Old hat for some, unique for others.

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    1. All true Ric, but I cannot ignore a golden opportunity for a bit of tongue-in-cheek self- deprecation with a sprinkle of home truths...

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