Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Know-nothing Twat

There's a certain kind of birder I really hate. It's not the 'noveau twitcher' or the young, slang-spouting upstart who's a much better rarity finder than me. No, the type who gets me really seething, hopping, spitting, swearing mad is the sort of supercilious, dismissive, know-all-but-know-nothing old git I had the misfortune to encounter at Rutland Water yesterday. As it happens I've met this particular moron on several previous occasions, which is probably why I snapped and had a go at him this time when he 'dissed' one of my records.

Anyway, to start at the beginning...

There were three Black Terns in the South Arm yesterday morning. Not an earth-shattering record by any means, but there haven't been many yet this autumn, and it was certainly worth putting the record in the sightings book at Egleton, which, being a helpful sort of person, I did. There were a couple of other birders at the counter, and I casually mentioned the Black Terns to the younger of the two.

I then went upstairs to the viewing gallery, and after a few minutes the two of them also came upstairs and sat down next to me. The older guy (who has an irritatingly posh, arrogant sort of voice) kicked off with: "Oh, there's a plover - not sure if it's Ringed or Little Ringed." This was followed by some fatuous remark about how Rutland Water doesn't get large numbers of Pintails any more (it does, but not in early August!).

Now, I should make it clear at this point that I'm not having a go at him simply because he can't identify birds, or because he doesn't know what he's talking about. Not being able to identify birds is not a crime, even when you've been birding for a very long time, as I know this bloke has. Some people just don't have the mental capacity to be good birders, and that's not their fault. What is a heinous, unforgiveable, cardinal sin in my book is knowing jack-shit-nothing about birds, but thinking that you're some sort of fucking expert (which he does) and (and this is the important bit) never believing anything that anyone else tells you they've seen!!

So, after a few more minutes, fuckwit leans over to his mate (knowing full well that I'm sitting next to him) and says in a loud 'stage whisper': "So, what do you think of those Black Terns then - wishful thinking?"

What I should have said at this point (whilst remaining completely calm) was something along the lines of: "No, they weren't 'wishful thinking', they were moulting adult Black Terns. Black Tern is a fairly common autumn migrant at Rutland Water, and a perfectly straightforward species to identify. Don't assume that everyone is as incompetent as you are, and if I knew as little about birds as you clearly do, I'd keep my mouth shut."

Unfortunately I'm completely unable to keep calm in these situations; I go straight into quivering with incoherent rage mode and lose it completely. I can't remember exactly what I said to him, but it ended with me calling him a silly old twat and storming out of the Visitor Centre.

If anyone recognises my description of this turd and has similar encounters with him, please don't let him get away with it. He needs to be told, repeatedly if necessary, that he can't just go round disbelieving other people's birds all the time, and that not everyone knows as little as he does. The problem with people like him is that it makes good birders less likely to speak to other people and tell them what they've seen. I may come across on this blog as an misanthropic cunt, but in reality I do try to be friendly and helpful to others, and to let them know what I've seen. But when you get a reaction like that it makes you wonder whether it's worth speaking to anyone unless you know them. If I ever see this cretin again, I will tell him NOTHING. Even if I've just found a first for Britain, he can fuck off as far as I'm concerned because he and his ilk don't deserve to be told what's about.

And now it's back to topless darts at Roehampton...


28 comments:

beast said...

Andy..I've been in the presence of some mega twats before but this one sounds quite unbelievable! How you stopped yourself from cutting the twats head off I'll never know! [bet that even if you had cut his head off he'd still be talking bollox]! I'm sorry, [no I'm not] but there's no reason on earth why such a cretin should be allowed to steal other peoples air. This guy has obviously picked up on how other birders [who actually know what they're talking about] occasionally 'diss' certain observations [observations usually made by cunts like him]. I wish I'd been there when he came out with that bollox..I'm well known for my restraint! When something like that happens it really fucks you're day up don't it?
Deepest sympathies and wishing you a speedy recovery from this encounter.

Andy Mackay said...

Thanks. Writing that long post certainly helped me get over it. As I said, I have met this pointless specimen at RW before, and he never believes anything you tell him. Usually it's just a raised eyebrow and a disbelieving 'superior' sort of smile, but his open scepticism on this occasion tipped me over the edge.

Hopefully he might have learned his lesson now, but somehow I doubt it.

Marcus Lawson said...

Is he a member of the BBRC?

Skev said...

What a facking cant!

Is he a teacher aswell? Probably been too busy giving dicky-back rides and shining with his white brasso to learn bird ID etc.

Andy Mackay said...

I don't know if he was a teacher (he's well past retirement age), but I wouldn't be surprised. He's certainly as big a cunt as most of my teachers were when I was at school.

Andy Mackay said...

I've just had a Whimbrel flying over my house. Anyone want to call me a liar (in exchange for a punch in the face of course)?

John Hague said...

I'm sorry Andy but I haven't had such a good laugh in ages. I sort of wish I'd been there to witness that exchange. It's a shame no-one recorded it on a mobile so we could post it on you tube.
As you know I am on no way the world's best birder or id expert, I'm competent at best, incompetent at worst but I do strongly believe in sharing news as you know. However I really do share you anger at knobheads such as your man there. Probably missed a Stilt Sandpiper as he sneered at the idiot who had made such a mistake as mixing up two birdnames into one. He probably also felt the Marsh Sand was a misspelt Marsh Tit!
I think I know who you mean anyway but I don't know his name and yes he's a twat but the far too many arseholes at RW are and that's one reason I hardly ever go there. I'd rather see fuck all in the Soar Valley than have most of those wankers annoying me.

Andy Mackay said...

As a regular visitor to RW for over 20 years, and knowing most of the regulars and staff well, I'm afraid I don't share your views about the place, John. The vast majority of birders there, of whatever level of experience, are fine, and that's the first time in 20-odd years I've had an encounter like that.

Obviously any birding site as good as RW is going to attract lots of birders, and a proportion of them will be wankers, but that's a microcosm of life in general. The difficulty, with so many people there, most of whom you've never met, is knowing which ones will be friendly and interested to hear what you've seen, which ones are just there to look at the Ospreys and have no idea what you're on about, and which ones are the Daily Mail readers.

Now, if you don't go there very often and get to know the 'locals', they won't necessarily be able to tell which of the above categories you fall into. Many less outgoing people when faced with that sort of dilemma find it easier to keep themselves to themselves, and I'm sure this is where a lot of unjustified accusations of 'suppression' arise, not just at RW, but everywhere.

Oh, and by the way, twat and his mate go to Cossington much more often than RW, so watch out!

John Hague said...

Ah, yes, now I really do know who you mean but I still don't know his name and oh yes he is a 'know-nothing twat' and I will strive hard to engage him in conversation and then reinforce all his views of other birders.

As for RW, I guess you're right about me making an effort there but to be truly honest I just don't like the place and I guess it's the Osprey project that has really put me against the place and the fact that a certain few get priviliged access into the reedbed to see birds that no-one else is allowed to see on some flimsy pretext or other. If Slimbridge can organise viewings and make a bit of good money on the side than why can't RW.
Given the steep rises in price this year I doubt whether I will bother buying a pass next year as it's just dead money really.
Having said all that I will be at the Birdfair on the LROS Stand on Sunday morning.

Andy Mackay said...

Ah yes, the reedbed. Now that is a bit of a bone of contention! I fully accept that it's a sensitive area, but if that's the case, then it ought to be out of bounds to everyone except staff and the ringers. And I say that as someone who used to have permission to go in there when I was a more regular visitor than I am now!

Mark said...

And I allways though Steve Lister was a decent birder ;)

Andy Mackay said...

Legal disclaimers:

1) The Leicester Llama is not responsible for any comments made on this blog.

2) To make it completely clear, neither of the birders mentioned is/are Steve Lister, or anything to do with Steve Lister (although he probably knows them as he's also from Loughborough).

Bonsaibirder said...

"What is a heinous, unforgiveable, cardinal sin in my book is knowing jack-shit-nothing about birds, but thinking that you're some sort of fucking expert (which he does)"

There are too many people like this - you are spot on!

CHeers

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andy Mackay said...

I'm sorry Mark, but I had to delete that last comment - I have to draw the line somewhere, and the person you mentioned is a good friend of mine!

Mark said...

It's OK Andy. I was in a mischievous mood. Back on topic couldn't agree more with your sentiments. Quite lucky round here, in that we don't seem to suffer such morons. However we do have one character who is a pathological liar to the point where I can't bring myself to go down the valley anymore for fear of killing the cunt!!

beast said...

Andy..who'd a thought you're earlier rant would have led to so many comments...good stuff!
Mr.Hagues views are shared by only a few I've met, although theres always been certain 'issues' about R.W.
Always had mixed feelings about the osprey situation at Rutty, but overall it is obviously a good thing..it would be a fucking boating lake without this project to give it status. So, added twats or not, we gotta put up with it...small price to pay really. I often call the ospreys something other than ospreys [have a guess] but they are undeniably spectacular birds to watch. Lot of resentment comes from the fact that more money should be spent on reintroducing other species. I can hear a monty's harrier now..'how come these fucking ospreys get all the bloody attention'? Fact is though they do and they bring the paying punters in and thats all good for conservation. That they're not a globally threatened species doesn't come into it. Live with it.
Just a note on 'reedbed' situation, yeah, it would be great to have a boardwalk and tower hide...hhmmm...how we gonna pay for it? More ospreys and paying punters please! By the way, I like all the 'characters' at Rutty and take the piss out of all of them...birders have always been a diverse bunch of nutters and it makes life a little less boring...more excentrics please..[except those like that fucking twat you had the misfortune to run into..shame you weren't driving a car at the time]! Stay cool...

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Andy,a great post,I can think of two T**ats from Rutty(hello Beast or is it Colin for short?)who are good birders but have the personlity of a dead badger.
It's just a shame we still have Twats like this in Birding today;-]

beast said...

Dear Dave.....I have heard of a Colin, he's a four-eyed old twat, avoid him like the plague, he knows fuck all about birds...

I'm the son of a jackal and font of all useless knowledge..if you're ever in need of useless information...ring 0898 666 and ask for the beast [all calls will be charged at an extortionate rate and souls will be forfeit]

John Hague said...

Hi Beast, I don't even think Montagu's Harrier is a realistic target for an introduction scheme. I have been very happy to support Red Kite, globally threatened and I'm very supportive of attempts to REINTRODUCE Corncrake to former areas such as the Nene Washes. As for the Osprey it can't be called a reintroduction scheme as their is scant evidence of past breeding and certainly not at RW which as you'll know is only just over 30 years old. Anglian Water and the LRWT would be better funding research into halting the declines of once common birds like Corn Bunting.

A tower hide at the reedbed would be great, there's a little used one at Wanlip, only pre-school kids and the retired can actually manage the opening hours and then they might struggle with the stairs. If it's a new one you want building then maybe LROS could fund it and then find that any perks for the society using RW be withdrawn as prices and profits for Anglian Water take precedence over anything else. To be fair Beast it's not really the birders I have a beef with it's the general management of RW that annoys me. If Carlsberg did nature reserves RW would probably be the most unhelpfull in the world.

beast said...

John...you obviously have quite a few 'big issues' about RW![all valid I'm sure].
Yeah...couldn't everything be better managed...look at the whole fucking country! Nothings perfect [apart from me of course]. Despite all the 'issues' certain people have [and I don't know quite what they all are]Rutty does a good job. I'm sure that the birds don't give a fuck over who did or didn't do what where and when.In any organization there's always plonkers, schemers, arselickers and useless piles of shit, but then thuz always decent hard working people who just have to make the best of it! As long as wildlife benefits..
By the way, you say Monty's Harriers ain't a realistic target? Just hope one don't fly over Sandringham [I hear 'Harry Hewitt' has brought back a machine gun from the front line]...fess up Harry...it was you wunnit? His step father Charles must be so proud the way he brought down an unarmed bird!

Andy Mackay said...

OK, this has got completely off-topic now, but...

1. The Ospreys argument has surely been done to death elsewhere, many, many tedious times over the last 10 years. The fact is that there never was a choice between 'money for Ospreys' and 'money for anything else' such as Corn Bunting research or reintroducing Pterophorus galactodactyla or whatever. It was money for Ospreys or nothing, and as beast rightly says, the resulting raised awareness can only be good for conservation in the long term. Yes, it's depressing that most people aren't going to be persuaded to give a fuck about something brown and boring like a Corn Bunting (or a micro moth), but it's a fact, and one that won't be changed simply by constantly complaining about it.

2. The idea that a multi million pound corporation like Anglian Water makes any profit out of flogging a few poxy birdwatching permits is just laughable. The truth is that without Anglian Water and the millions of pounds it's put into it (have you seen what's going on behind Lagoon III at the moment?), there would be no nature reserve at Rutland Water.

3. Finally, Rutland Water is NOT, by a very, very, very long way, the most unhelpful nature reserve in the world. That accolade would have to go to Blacktoft Sands in the 80s & 90s, where the totally obnoxious cunt of a warden (I assume he's retired now) would have liked nother better than for the reserve to be permanently closed to all birders apart from himself. Actually, thinking about it, the RSPB warden at Snettisham was similar, and as for Dungeness...

beast said...

Spot on Andy!
I remember all those wardens who strutted around like self appointed lords of the manor. They seemed to forget that it wasn't actually 'they're' land they managed.
I can understand how protective wardens can get though when they witness shite behaviour from the public. They just pull the drawbridge up and pour steaming hot shit over the rampaging hordes etc. Power always corrupts....[except in Ghandi's case...bloody hell...even more off topic now]! Lets change subject to chocolate bars...I prefer Snickers to Topics! [every pun intended].

Andy Mackay said...

And of course, one of the most notorious acts ever of shite behaviour by birders occurred at RW (Franko having to be removed by the police after walking out into the middle of Lagoon I looking for the Bridled Tern in 1984). People have long memories when it comes to that sort of thing...

Boulmer Birder said...

And I thought it was just me who thought like you Andy. Your know nothing birder theory is a by product of all of this easily accessible info today. He and his ilk would have soon gone by the wayside if he had to go it alone or get info from mates...

Great post. Keep it up.

HampshireBirder said...

well my nan saw the black terns and she can't tell the difference between a chaffinch and a greenfinch

reading through some of the other comments i'm surprised that no-one has pointed out that at the end of the day most birders are wankers lol

Marcus Lawson said...

Quite right about some of the old wardens, I can't bring myself to call what was hide no4 at Dunge by it's current name and feel that the "Codpeace Hide" is far more appropriate.

abbey meadows said...

Didn't think I would add to the huge amount of comments but I have met many of those people that you are sometimes loathed to enter a hide just because you know they are in there. Me and Boulmer birder watched Druridge bay for years even in pre hide and birdline days. I never pretended to be an expert but I loved sharing sightings but we just learned to laugh at these jokers and gave them nicknames like pigeon-cuckoo and ruff-dotterel; you knew what megas we had missed but these people fade away after a year or two. I remember one character who saw everything we did without getting out of his car, in fact without lifting his head from his sunday paper. Missed a Hen harrier...No I didn't...saw it before you did. Fortunately I do most of my wildlife watching myself these days.