Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is this the real cost of birding....

News today on the pager that the Morpeth Squacco Heron has died. What a shame. I thought it looked 'peaky' last week you know, hinted at on my post last Wednesday -

I dashed the 20 miles south and found the Squacco to be out in the open on the shingle of the river bank. In the hour I watched, it was in view most of the time, but not once did I see it eat anything. It picked up leaves, grass stalks and a thistle, and looked quite hungry. Maybe the prey isnt in the shallows at this time of year? I hope people dont push it too hard...


I still do hope that this was natural causes and not hunger related due to us birders...
 
Things like this do cause me to consider my actions. I wonder if those belting song recordings to the local Cetti's Warbler have a single thought for the birds welfare or is it just another mark on a list ?

9 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Very sad Stewart :-(

Alot of people are the same whatever they get up to - they put themselves first, sod everything else.

Ghost of Stringer said...

Interesting how a few of the blog accounts of the squacco that I have read, mentioned the bird flying off in front of them..... “we walked along, but didn’t see it until it flew up from the riverbank....it gave a great fly-by” etc....

From this, in my mind I got the impression people were walking along looking for it, then (inadvertently ?) booting it ? Seemed to be a re-occurring story unless everyone was there at the same time !

Someone reported that some photographers were pushing it at times. Like you I hope that this wasn't the case. Someone else told me that people on nerd- forum were getting all defensive the other day when the issues of flushing this bird and its welfare were raised. The post was deleted apparently after teddys started to fly out of prams ! Unfortunate that, sounded like the original poster was making a perfectly valid and important point, the discussion must have deteriorated I guess !

I’m sure the weather/high flood water/poor fishing etc will have played a big part, but if this bird was in poor condition, wasting energy flying around every time it was disturbed (be it dog walkers, drunks or over keen twitching sorts) surely won’t have helped eh.

Brian Robson said...

The birders code states the interests of the bird come first, a few years ago i opted out of what i saw as anything but.

Its not just newcomers but established long term birders who seem to ignore the interests of a rarity out of its usual comfort zone.

So to those that felt it was ok at the PG tips to walk and shake the bushes at Newbiggin, and those who played tapes at the St Marys Hulmes leaf warbler, and those that disturbed the Bluethroat at Briers Dene with tapes

And again at the Hoopoe at Cambois, and climbing on the roof at the Glossy Ibis at DRU pools walking on private land for Richards pipit on Holy island and Lapland bunting at Hartley. Youve only got yourselves to blame.

NTBC never reacted to my complaint about the PG tips disturbance, shame on them.

Fieldcraft takes time to learn, i hope i have been a good representative of those that taught me over my birding years.

Over the years i have been privilaged to see birds found by others, an ive found a few myself.

However the 2 years that saw Blyths reed warblers at St marys were an eye opener, simply the habitat was destroyed, thrashed by tick tarts in search of a
tick/ photo. From that point on i have ceased to put out anything i feel would attract those who wont respect the patch.

I could name names, i would rather they consider their actions after reading this, bt i fee tis wont even see the light of day.

Brian Robson, my patch St Marys Island.

alan tilmouth said...

I saw the bird on several occasions between Monday & Wednesday. I saw it in flight but I never saw it 'flushed'. When it appeared under Richard Dunn's nose below the flood wall I was 30m away and had walked past twice but neither RD, me or my kids were visible to it as it was at the bottom of an 8ft wall.
I was the nerd ;)that posted on Friday about applying some common-sense as I was down that afternoon and found someone walking the north bank when the water was very high and the feeding areas restricted. The post is still up and I stand by what I wrote. I couldn't give two hoots if anyone spat their dummy out, the bird comes first. Some of the images I've seen suggest that some people may have got too close but that's conjecture on my part. I do think that when the water was high and discoloured with sediment it was 'restless' moving off every couple of minutes without any prompting from anyone. Bizarrely it was LGRE who apparently found it this morning and has legged it back south with the corpse.

Emma Anderson said...

This is all very sad. I realise it isn't always possible but I was taught that vagrants were best seen by visiting the country/region where they live and seeing them in their natural setting. Thus the few birds I have been able to see and identify on my infrequent trips abroad, have been particularly precious.

Ghost of Stringer said...

Brian you are not alone ! Your comments (below) closely echo my sentiments, and at least a few other local patchers I know too.
"I have ceased to put out anything I feel would attract those who wont respect the patch. I could name names, i would rather they consider their actions after reading this, bt i fee tis wont even see the light of day."

It’s unfortunate that it is a minority of idiots that spoil it for others, I know you are certainly not alone in your choice to no longer broadcast news. I’d like to say it’s THIER loss.... but unfortunately it’s not, it’s everyones loss...... and THIER fault !

Birding about Northumberland said...

This is sad news, I didn;t manage to see it and I do hope people didn't stress it to much but I feel that some birders do not have the birds best interests at heart and just want the photo. Respect our feathered friends....

The Wessex Reiver said...

Very sad Stewart, but linked to your thoughts and that of some of the comments, it's a dificult balancing act. Rarities by their very definition are biologically dead anyway when they arrive on our shores. Usually weakened by their long flight and in unusual surroundings they more often than not succumb very quickly. Do birders hunting for them hasten that demise? Well only an individual birders conscience know that. I only twitched once and vowed never again as for me it was a dissapointing experience to be surrounded by many other birders. It takes all sorts.

I remember a few years ago when a Wandering albatross was found near me, cared for and released 24 hours later without anyone knowing. Welfare of the bird dictated news of its arrival was only made public after its release. The resulting furore which followed this apparent "secrecy" by some elements of the birding community who had missed the opportunity for a life tick proved the secrecy surrounding it's finding and release into the wild were well justified.

Blyth Birder said...
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