I’m not a twitcher, or a birder; I’m a birdwatcher. I like to watch birds. Observe them, see what they do, how they interact with each other, be it their own or different species. I’m by no means an expert, just an interested amateur.
I’m happy to sit by my backdoor and watch who ever comes to the garden. (the Long Tailed Tits turned up yesterday, all nine, much to my relief, so all’s well in my world again). My bird books are to hand, the binoculars sit on the shelf, and the camera is behind me on the sofa, while I sit at the computer. My local patch is a five minute drive away, and I know pretty much every nook and cranny. My next ‘local’, is about 10 to 15 minutes. I guess that makes me a ‘lazy birdwatcher’.
Well, I have been known to venture further a field at times, for a change of scenery, but I certainly don’t ‘drop everything’ and head off hundreds of miles up the nearest motorway to join the other twitchers, jostling for a position to see that rare visitor from the Continent, or across the Atlantic. Just think of the carbon footprint made by all those people. I think the environment is in enough trouble, without me donning big boots to add to it.
Nope, I stay fairly local most of the time. I keep a list of what I’ve seen, and where, purely for my own benefit. A large diary, and electronically on the computer.
Now the point of all this is not to knock the twitchers, far from it, but to just say there is probably more on our own doorstep, if we just open our eyes to it.
Last year, in May, whilst at one of my ‘locals’, I did happen to see a ‘rarity’. Purely by chance, and I didn't even know I had at the time. I was enjoying some Reed Warblers going about their business, and heard above all their cacophony of song, a deeper more gruff sound. I scanned the reeds, and there it was. A bigger bird, singing his bigger song.
What the hell is that, I wondered. I managed to fire off a few shots, and also recorded some of his baritone on my mobile phone. I’ll check that one out when I get home, I thought, and continued my journey round the lake.
Back home, pictures and sound downloaded, I checked through my books. A Great Reed Warbler was the nearest and most conclusive I could come up with. Can’t be, I thought. They don’t come round here. Must be a mistake.
I e-mailed some pictures to our local bird club, along with the sounds. They’re more expert than me, they would know. I got a quick reply; yes it was a Great Reed Warbler, and only the second sighting in the County since 1946.
Well I was chuffed, to say the least. Needless to say, it was gone next day, and no-one else saw it, despite a few local birders going down there, but I had the proof in pictures and sound.
Just goes to show you never know what’s on your doorstep.Here’s some pictures: