These dark nights must be good for summat...I know, how about some debate. Have a look a Green Withens at his chat about Bird Clubs, Mags etc and the comments.
I think I am tempted to agree with him to some extent, though it grieves me to admit it. East Ayton adds to the pot too ( as well as yours truly) by noting that birding is now often done in 'real time'. He is definately right.
I remember the dark days of 1987 as a fresh faced laddie doing my weekly visits by bus to Druridge Pools. No reserve then, no hides, screens or anything. The alders along the road were yet to be planted. The pool could be viewed without obstruction from the road. I was there on the 4th, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th May wearing a donkey jacket, NCB wellies and a mullet, carrying my Prinz 10 x 50s round my neck and loads of hope and optimism in my pockets. It was great. I had Black necked Grebe, Garganeys, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Wheatears. In those days, Whinchats still bred and there were plenty of Cuckoos. I didn't know many people who went birding then and there was no grapevine, let alone mobile phones, computers and pagers. Of the birders I knew, they couldn't help because I didn't even have a home phone in my flat. Bird info came from the new 'Bird Watching' magazine, two months later or the annual report 18 months later!
Imagine my horror at reading July's edition of BW magazine to find out about a Temminck's Stint at Dru on 9th - 11th and a female Bluethroat there on 26th. Both lifers, nay, mega's at the time.
To put things in context in 1987 I saw no rare birds at all ( might have been due to the Prinz...). Imagine that. None. Best of the year was Black Redstart, Smews, Lap Buntings ( plenty) and the birds above. Today's new birders would have packed in by March. Nowadays I could beat my 87 year list by March. At Boulmer!
Those were the days eh.
Now, where was that Great Blue Heron...