Birders are rallying round (and also flocking) to vent their fury as Brussels bureaucrats unveiled their latest plan to erode the "lifestyles and choices of ordinary people".
It follows the banning this week of binoculars with a higher magnification than 6x and spotting scopes above 15x. In further moves which seem certain to provoke outrage amongst the nation's birders, tripods will be restricted to a maximum fully extended height of 1.2m, and DSLR burst rates will not be permitted to exceed 3 frames per second.
EU Commissioner for Birding Affairs, Lars Ole, speaking from his palatial penthouse suite at the Stockholm Hilton, said, "This new legislation is essential to improve standards of fieldcraft. For years now, people have been using high-powered optics to avoid the need to learn any kind of fieldcraft. We feel that reducing magnifications will improve the situation dramatically, especially in the UK, where birders' field skills are lamentable."
Condemnation of the announcement was swift and almost universal. Derek Sandpiper, 52, a twitching veteran with a British list of "nearly 300", said, "This will just mean that I need to get even closer to the bird than I do already. Fieldcraft? I thought that's what people did in the 19th century. Things have moved on since then, mate." He went on to say that he would be stockpiling "enough pairs of 10x42 Swaro ELs and 30-70x eyepieces to see me out. I can afford it, so bollocks to the EU".
L.G.R. Falarga, 52, of the IQ40 Club seemed rather confused by the news: "I've been saying for years that everyone should vote UKIP because of their thoroughly sound environmental policies, and this just proves my point. But on the plus side, maybe some people will give up birding, which would be a good thing. There are far too many birders in this country nowadays. And it might also save a lot of time chasing up reports of Great Knots and Long-toed Stints, as they'll be too distant for anyone to string them in the first place. Maybe we shouldn't vote UKIP after all? I don't know really. What planet am I on again?"
However, Billy Boring, 52, who described himself as a "keen patcher" said, "I couldn't give a toss really. No-one else ever goes to my patch, so I can get as close to the birds as I like, and it doesn't matter if I flush them. I don't even own a pair of binoculars, let alone a scope."
While Mrs Bessy Ducker, 93, a keen back garden birdspotter said, "How am I supposed to identify anything down the end of my garden with 6x binoculars? What do they expect me to do, go outside? At my age? It's fucking ridiculous. I'm 93, you know!"
When asked about the proposed decrease in permissable tripod height, Mr Ole was evasive. "Um, I can't remember – I think it was something to do with the legs obstructing air flow near wind turbines."
And the DSLR burst rate restriction? "Oh, that's simply because people at twitches with machine gun rate burst speeds are annoying twats."