Friday, 2 April 2021

Time for a rethink

Canons Farm in quieter times

For quite a while now I have been an advocate and champion of local birding. For me, this did go a step further, with my all but giving up of Beddington and Holmethorpe as places to visit - instead of which I focused my attention on sites within walking distance from home. So, for the past few years, this has meant Canons Farm, Priest Hill and Epsom Downs have taken up 80% of my birding time. There have been some good days and good birds, but an awful lot of time spent trying to convince myself of the worthiness of such an enterprise, what with the low number of birds present. And now, particularly with the advent of lockdown and the rise in the number of people who are going 'out for exercise' I find these places virtually swamped with others. They have as much right as me to be there - whether that be with additional dog/horse/friend - but where I once had a modicum of solitude and uninterrupted birding, that certainly is not the case now.

So, time for a rethink.

A rethink certainly means going further afield. Back to Beddington and Holmethorpe (and I am under no illusion that these places are not busy also, but at least they have guaranteed birds!). Finding more out of the way places (I do have some quiet areas of Surrey farmland in mind). And, when safe to do so, back to the south coast and downs. I will still visit Canons Farm, Priest Hill and Epsom Downs now and again, but they can no longer give me what I need in the long run. It is a shame, but you can only convince yourself for so long that you are getting something out of a project when, in fact, you are getting very little indeed.

4 comments:

Derek Faulkner said...

That seems to be an increasing comment from birdwatchers these days, "there's too many people out there spoiling things now," despite the fact that the birdwatcher is also adding to the tally.
Unfortunately, with every new housing estate, comes a decrease in habitat and more and more people squeezing into what's left. Sadly, it'll continue to get worse.

Stewart said...

We shouldn't be a martyr to the cause Steve. I love my local patching but flogging farmland would push me over the edge I reckon. You can still have your cake and eat it. Divide your birding time between known sites and the lesser known to suit your mood or the time of season. Look for a suite of varying sites, say within an hours drive and 'interview' them for suitability, it will rekindle your birding I'm sure...good luck.

Gavin Haig said...

Steve, my birding enthusiasm has been totally revived by removing self-imposed restraints. That was my personal 'rethink'. Nowadays I might go to the same spot three or four times on the trot, but the moment it gets to feeling a bit samey I go elsewhere. I don't worry about 'patch loyalty'. This approach has worked well for 18 months or more now, and easily gives me enough rewards to keep me keen.

All the best with your own rethink. 😊 👍

Steve Gale said...

Thanks for the input all. I feel more upbeat about things since I’ve decided to go more with the flow!