Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Devil might wear Prada but birders wear green

The Safari has worn a green jacket for more years than we care to mention, it’s almost Henry Ford-like ‘you can have any colour you want as long as it’s green!’  
Nice pic to whet your appetite before the diatribe starts - or should that be dia-tripe! But please do try to read all the way to the bottom.
You’ll recall we went to the NW Bird Watching Festival last weekend and a great day out it was too. We went on the Saturday for logistical doggy reasons and wasn’t too unduly worried about the demographic of the visitors that day, From our experiences over the years as a nature reserve warden and wildlife ranger we’ve learned that Saturday is generally a quieter day than Sunday in wildlifey type environments although it was busy on the Saturday while we were there; by the time we got there mid-morning we had to park at the far end of the large overflow car-park. We’d hazard a guess that many people do ‘normal’ stuff on Saturday and save Sunday for a ‘going out’ day.
The crowd on Saturday was mostly green (or a camouflage variation) jacketed men many of whom were older than us. Beards? Now this is were it gets tricky – we told ourselves to get some general crowd pics from inside and outside so we could more accurately evaluate the stereotypes we’re about to bandy about but somehow forgot and that is going to have an impact on this coming weekend’s mega-safari! But at an honest guess we’d say that the proportion of beards on site was higher than in a random population of older blokes.
The kiddies play area was being fairly well used by young families but there didn’t seem to be any more of them than on any other visit we’ve made there in recent years – not that we get there very often. However, we didn’t see many of this demographic on our travels around the reserve, to be fair we didn’t visit the duck-zoo part of the site which is likely to be more attractive to young families than the wildside.
A very noticeable hole in the demographic was young females aged between 10 and 41! OK there were a few but they were invariably accompanied by a bloke in a green coat not necessarily but likely to be father/boyfriend/husband and other assorted family members. Come on ladies where are you – better things to do?
For Sunday we had spy in the camp who we’d asked to undertake a secret mission but like us forgetting to take any pics she managed not to take a suitable camera, then came the lame excuses ‘only took my long lens’ ‘my more suitable camera was at home in my other bag’ – you don’t get James Bond operating like that - just can’t get the staff these days!
Her report of Sunday was interesting though and a little unexpected. We’d anticipated a broader demographic on Sunday as more people are ‘out n about’ looking for something to fill their time and with Autumnwatch and other good wildlife programmes being on the telly recently we might have expected more families and youngsters to come down to an event like this...we don’t know how it was marketed to non-birders.
To the question how many genuinely interested kids and teenage girls were there? “Not nearly enough :( not many in the 20 – 30 category. Possibly 10 at the most!!! Can honestly say don’t think I saw a single teenage girl. Lots of toddlers and babies, but not nearly enough 6 – 18 year olds”.
That really is not enough...come on girls where are you? What are we doing wrong? Is it the beard thing – don’t worry beards are still in a definite minority? Do you have an aversion to green – we once had a bright orange jacket but that was for mountaineering – would it have made a difference? Give us some clues, (why) is learning about our/your environment so untrendy/cool – you can’t all be all-consuming shop-a-holics can you? You can’t be all removed from it as there are some exceptional female role-models around at the moment and look at primatology almost all the world leaders in this field of ecology over the decades have been women, cetaceans seem to have a bias towards female biologists, certainly in the UK, but why are you youngsters not finding/taking the easy way in – birds? Are you seeing the role models?
Do any younger females actually read this far down here??? If not why not? If you are one please let us know you did and what kept you reading beyond the second line way way up there. By young we mean under 30!
Something else seemed to be happening there too, again pics might have helped with percentages but there were more big lenses than telescopes – hardly a scientific analysis bit is there a move away from pure birding to bird photography, many of the big lens brigade had all the gear but little knowledge, indeed we spent some time trying to convince people a couple of times while we were in the hide that the Ruffs and Reeves weren’t Redshanks and Greenshanks and on one occasion we could hear down the line the same mis-identification being spouted – maybe a free field guide should come with every 500mm lens.

If by some slim chance you are still reading...and that applies to the beardies too, here is today’s wildlife news.

BONG – 10 Bar Tailed Godwits on Patch 2 – joint record count
BONG – Grey Seal bottling just behind the surf
BONG - b*gger al else.

But the big news of the day is this great news for our local nature reserve, can't wait to get stuck in in some shape or form.

No doubt there will be plenty of activities for youngsters of all ages and sexes coming up over the next few months for you to get involved with that our secret spy will advertise. 

Our crime report - If you’re the bearded b*stard pictured on the website and featured in this clip


Give yourself up thieving toe-rag. Anyone know him, possibly the other guy with the salesman is a stooge too. Neither are necessarily birders maybe just dressed up to look like them – sort of matching hats??? Or have we gone all Poirot? Wonder what he looks like without a beard or a hat.

Keep your eye on cheap deals on eBay for Swarovski binoculars, models 10x50 EL and 8.5x42 EL, valued at £2,010 and £1,850, 10x32 EL binoculars worth £1,620, and Zeiss 8.42 FLT binoculars worth £1,329 all from the same vendor.

In wildlife news – Wolves escape   if, as is stated they do not provide a risk to the public why were two shot dead? Was it on the orders of the extremely terrified looking Pied Wagtail?

Where to next? On the beach tomorrow with the litter pickers...and camera.
In the meantime let us know who’s got all the beards in your outback.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow.. So you have had a trip and tour in the countryside. It's a really lovey place. There are a lot of places to go in there like taking oban wildlife trips. Oban has a very diverse ecosystem. You'll see amazing animals, birds and more.