03 January, 2010

First of all...

I ought to start with saying that the title says quite a lot. I am a birder. I am rather backward in my ways. Birding and my ways thereof are going to feature pretty heavily in this blog - you have been warned, so if you're already going "What... birds?" then you may with to click that red button up the top of your window now...

Still here? Well, there's no accounting for some people. ;)

Perhaps I'd better start with some disclaimers while I'm at it - I am a Devon Birder, I am not The Devon Birder. Or the South Devon Birder, either. I am quite backward, but I am not from the Backwater [home of several blogging birders of far more wit and eloquence than you'll find here, plus pretty pictures! - go check them out. After you've finished reading this of course..!]
Why am I backward? Well, mostly due to what I have and don't have on my desk in front of me. I have a notebook. I don't have a digital camera. Nope, not even in my phone. I can hear the sounds of jaws hitting desks, chairs, and maybe even the odd floor from here. Mandibles re-attached? Good. I do own a camera, an SLR of the 35mm film variety popular in the latter part of the last millennium [Pentax ME Super, if you're into such things]. It's old, rather battered [ok, make that 'very well-used'], and still on its original battery. I have three lenses for it, but almost invariably use the wideangle macro. I take far fewer photos with it than I used to [you'd think they'd reduce the price of developing to encourage people to keep doing it, wouldn't you?], and have learned the expensive way that unless a bird sits very still, very close, with very good light [and how often does that happen?] its not really worth trying photoscoping. Photobinning sometimes works, but the three rules still apply.
That was a long-winded explanation of why there is a, not so much paucity as sheer lack, of pictures on this blog. If I can work the technology [big if - backward here] this might change a bit, but don't hold your breath.

I also have, - perhaps backward is not the best term for it, eccentric might fit better - views on birding. I have become somewhat disillusioned with the birding establishment in the last year - at least in terms of recording practices - and this has led me to re-assess how I treat this lifestyle [and birding is a lifestyle - its more than a hobby, and it certainly isn't a science]. This here shiny new blog is one of the new things I'm adopting. Giving up Yearlisting is another [though it will be interesting to see which one lasts longest - odds are looking pretty even right now]. I'm looking for a more relaxed, laid-back approach to birding. Twitch only Lifers, go birding to enjoy watching birds, not to pick up species [lifers are ok, because they're birds I've never seen before, and you can't see too many, right? Right?]
Oh dear, this listing thing may be terminal.... The point is to return birding to the de-stressor it used to be, instead of the stressor it's become. I want to be tramping over [hopefully not in] freezing Dartmoor bogs because I enjoy it, not because I still haven't seen Jack Snipe this year...
Oh and in case you're wondering, I do like Dartmoor in the winter, on days when its soggy and cold and blowing a hoolie. Especially when you can find a place to sit down out of the freezing blast, have a cup of coffee, and wait to see what comes by. I think that's the essence of birding - sitting down [or lying, or leaning, or even kneeling if you're feeling masochistic] and making yourself inconspicuous, then waiting to see what comes along. Being quite a keen seawatcher, I suppose it comes naturally to me [though that may be getting things the wrong way round] - that is seawatching in a nutshell [just add umbrella ;) ].

Right, that'll do for now. I shall see if I can make this thing post ok, and maybe I'll actually start going on about things that have happened?

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