Yesterday evening I had written a lengthy post on the subject of birding behaviour during the second lockdown, but then deleted it rather than publish it - this after a bit of soul-searching when I thought better of it, and decided that it might ruffle a few feathers That wasn't something that I wished to happen. 

So I tweeted this instead:

As can be seen, it has gathered a lot of interest, with over 58,000 views, 40 Retweets and getting on for 950 likes. But what about the 'not likes'? Even though I do put out the odd contentious tweet from time to time I am still a sensitive soul and do not like to think that anybody would be upset by what I post. I felt happy that the above post would be taken as a pat-on-the-back to those birders who have stuck to the government lockdown recommendations. Plenty haven't - or at least have played loose with the nitty-gritty of lockdown - and this has annoyed me somewhat. I could go into a bit more detail, but really don't want to. It's upsetting that some birders are out there playing Russian-roulette with a virus that can kill -if not them, then somebody close to them, or a perfect stranger that just happens to cross their path. I've been shouted down that being out in the open, innocently birding, is as safe as can be. That is just incorrect. The science is clear - the virus can live on a fence post, gate, bush, petrol pump, car bonnet, your glove or your jacket, for up to 48 hours. Regardless of perceived distancing. 

Enough of that, back to the Tweet - there was one word in the above tweet that I should not have used...


I used it in the context as a list being meaningless when compared to a killer virus. But the clumsy use of the word makes it look as if I'm suggesting that listing is meaningless. There were several birders who have put me right on this. To them, their lists have meaning, or they can see that in some cases a list may be the one thing that keeps people mentally on the straight and narrow, gives them a reason for getting up in the morning. I did reply to each of them, accepting that I had got my wording wrong. Although the spirit of the tweet was not one of antagonism, I can see how it could have (and did) come across that way to some. I really should read through what I have written before touching the send button.

The gob-shite within me is going to go on a long holiday.

Lockdown 2 ends tonight. The tier system starts tomorrow. Wherever you are, keep safe and please bird responsibly. And none of that is meaningless.


Wild Stutton said…
The perils of a misguided word here or there Steve! Keep the tweets and blogs coming. One of the best things I read.
I think I've said this before Steve but I'd love to see a tweet like this from a massive filthy twitcher.
Steve Gale said…
Won’t happen though Jono, will it...
Stewart said…
Hi Steve, I knew where you were coming from in that tweet, after all we have listed together on many occasions.

My gripe really was with some of the comments people were making, being almost condescending and derogatory towards those who dare to keep a list.
It was an almost Python-esque race to the bottom - but with birders. Picture the scene
'Eeh bah gum when I were a lad we only 'ad blue tits to watch, you lot don't know you're born'
'Blue Tits! They got a mega alert on my patch where I spent 366 days a year, 25 hours a day counting nothing but Woodpigeons in the dark with our eyes removed. Aye, if only we 'ad Blue Tits!'
'Wood pigeons you say!!! If only....'

The irony is I'm not even a National twitcher really but I do enjoy my lists.

Still it made for an interesting debate and I hope those commentators can continue their meaningful work soon. Meanwhile we should get planning what we can trivially look for in 2021.. ;)

Steve Gale said…
Thanks Stewart, I should know better than to post something like that, but sometimes it is too tempting to press that ‘send’ button. People are easily offended in 2020, too quick to attack and as much as they demand to tell you why you are wrong are seemingly unable to allow anybody to suggest that they are. Funny thing is, if we were all sitting down together over a mug of tea, we would all be able to have a civil discussion. The screen and keyboard embolden users to ‘say’ things that they wouldn’t voice face-to-face.
Stewart said…
Indeed we would. In some ways though that can be the beauty of anonymity. You certainly get it in the face, red in tooth and claw... I wonder where my White fronted Geese are?

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