Naturalists and birders. Does your hobby take you down a certain route into other fields?
I see other wildlife observers who are well balanced people with other interests. Some have football season tickets or maybe go cycling ( when I say other interests I mean totally separate, ie you don't carry binoculars) . Some go to the gym or swimming or whatever.
How do you get the time? Everything I do in daylight or even to a lesser degree, in the dark, when not working, is in some way linked to the observation of natural history. The only things outside of that box are watching films, when I cant get outside, or listening to music, usually when driving to a birding site.
Every other thing I do involves another species. I take photographs, mainly of wildlife and the environment, I draw things, usually birds, I go for walks, with a wildlife target in mind, I read every day, texts linked to wildlife. We go on holiday, to an area where I know there is some wildlife I would like to see and so on. I never switch off and nor would I want to.
This might seem a bit geeky or obsessive, unhealthy even, but there is still, variety in there with more than enough for two lifetimes of interest.
Drilling down further, does your wildlife watching have a particular interest within it? You might like the scientific approach or you might be a bit of a statistician, or a taxonomist.
Personally I like the history of all things wildlife. If you are or have ever been an angler you will know of Mr Crabtree. He was a character drawn in comic strip form by the late Bernard Venables and it is evocative of times now largely lost with the main character teaching a young lad to fish in stew ponds and Mill Pools where the calm green waters reflecting willows have not changed since Constable painted them.
This is the version I am interested in, but linked to natural history.
The country written about by Richard Jefferies, Ian Niall and Watkins-Pitchford. All leafy lanes clad in dog rose and honeysuckle or coastal fields with thick hedges and migrants calling in the mist of an October dawn. Chaps with pipes and Fair Isle sweaters under a thick army great coat and ex-naval 6x30 binoculars. Amongst the birders, Ennion, Richardson, Wallace, Alexander, Mountfort and others are read over and over again. They make me feel comfortable and give inspiration.
In a world swamped with media overload, smart phones, apps, nocmig, etc its great to get back to basics. As 'Lockdown 2: this time its tedious' kicks in I'll probably find myself seeking solace with the old fellas. Tonight at dusk, I was walking quietly in the back field with Peggy, the local Barn Owl silently hunted the hedgerow and winking Pink footed Geese moved south overhead and all seemed well with the world...
|The Bird Catcher. Pen and Ink by Ian Niall.|