Last Friday evening, as I was trawling through my Twitter feed, I was struck by the number of tweets that were looking back over the past year and picking out ornithological highlights - they were all of rare birds. Not one mentioned anything beyond rarity. In response I tweeted the following:
Why are so many birder’s highlights from 2018 purely of rarity? What of spectacle, intimate encounter and pure joy? Birding is more than the rare. Much more.
It was just a throwaway tweet, sent out there as much as a 'said-out-loud' thought to myself. The response to it has been remarkable - it has obviously struck a chord. As of noon today, 30 hours after it was sent, a total of 41,867 people have viewed it. There have been 1,459 total engagements. 809 Likes. 98 Retweets. And 91 Replies.
The replies have been fascinating. They have come from various parts of the world and have shared with me (and those linked to this particular thread) a multitude of thoughts and observations. There were only a few replies that suggested that my observation was flawed and that there was nothing wrong with choosing rarity as a highlight. In my defence I didn't say it was wrong, only that it seemed a shame to be the overriding criteria used in choosing them. The vast majority of those who replied did so not only to agree with me, but to also share their own moments of spectacle, intimacy and joy. Here are just a few chosen at random:
nothing beat the hawfinches in 2018.
Swifts nesting in our eaves - first time in 10 years here.
Every day's a highlight. And got another 10 of 'em to go before this year is out...
Local vismig for me, nothing ever rare but seeing birds streaming SW is definitely a highlight
The woodpecker pair that decided that our dead pear tree was perfect for their brood. They are welcome back 2019
I'm currently being tickled by the amount of Northern Cardinals in my parents yard in Ohio. There are SO MANY and I love them all.
Starlings on a new feeder in the garden for the first time. Pure joy.
It has been a delight to receive these replies and to share with the posters their moments of pleasure during 2018. Thank you all.