JAR­GON EX­PLAINED

Bird Watching (UK) - - Tactics -

So ex­actly what is a ‘twitcher’? Or a ‘tick’? Or a ‘patch’? Let’s start with the easy one.

A ‘tick’ is a new bird for one of the lists that a bird­watcher keeps – a life list would be all the birds they’ve ever seen, a year list those they’ve seen that year, and so on. And it can get com­pli­cated – you could have a year list for your patch, your county, and the UK, for ex­am­ple, or a world­wide life list as well as a UK one.

‘Twitcher’ gets used by the me­dia and pub­lic at large to mean bird­watcher, but re­ally it’s a term used to re­fer to those bird­ers who are will­ing to travel long dis­tances, some­times at all hours or any ex­pense, to add new birds to one or more of their lists.

And a ‘patch’? Well, that’s up to you. For some bird­ers, it’s one spe­cific site, maybe even their own gar­den. For oth­ers, it’s a wider but still rel­a­tively small and well-de­fined area, less than a county, cer­tainly.

SMEW A male Smew is the sort of bird which patch-watch­ers crave: scarce and spec­tac­u­larly beau­ti­ful

MAN­DARIN Ex­otic and de­rived from es­caped stock they may be, but Man­darins are cer­tainly pretty

GREEN­FINCH When you haven’t had one on your patch, they are sur­pris­ingly good-look­ing birds

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