We’ve had more letters in response to Bo Beolens’ Grumpy Old Birder column in May’s Bird Watching, where he criticised some photographers for giving birdwatching a bad name.
I would like to comment further. Firstly, with reference to Steve Cook’s letter in last month’s Bird Watching and his comment that photographers “crowd out hides with their tripods”. I wonder what the three legged items that support scopes used by the non photographers are!! I would suggest Steve has “shot himself in the foot” on this one. Secondly, if we photographers are so bad, I wonder why the RSPB on page 18 of June’s Bird Watching want us to be taking photographs of Puffins? Perhaps, Steve should take the RSPB to task.
My first thought was that it was a load of male bovine excrement, but it is typical of someone who has a narrow mind. I will illustrate my thought by one of my experiences. A few months ago, I rose very early and after an hour and a half drive arrived at the reserve, I then walked to the hide and set myself up still while it was dark. As the dawn rose, I was rewarded with very close up views which made for some super photographs. Then, following clomping footsteps, the door to the hide was opened and then slammed shut. A man proceeded to clatter about setting up his scope (after loudly opening a window), he then turned to me and asked again loudly if anything was about. My reply was quite to the point. So, what should we do, ban telescopes of course, if there is something you don’t like ban it. As a matter of interest, how would you ban cameras? The idea is barmy.
I would like to say that I agree with some if not all aspects of Bo’s words. My gripe concerns a local nature reserve where hides have been positioned around former, now flooded, gravel pits. I used to spend many hours just sitting and watching the birds, some common, occasionally not so common. Sadly, now, I find that whenever I visit, the majority of the benches are taken up with photographers comparing their expensive and massive long lenses and waving them about in all directions. Most of the guys I used to meet, equipped only with a pair of binoculars, occasionally a scope, have deserted, probably to find quieter sites in which to indulge their hobby and interests. Quite sad, really, as I have only been about three times this year due to lack of space and lack of birders with whom to enjoy banter and seek advice on unusual sightings.
Bob, CP manager