Tuesday 25 November 2008

We're not worthy

Last night, during my usual perusal of various birding websites, I discovered a terrible thing. In fact, to use one of John Shuttleworth’s favourite phrases, I was devastated. Why? Because the best, funniest and sweariest birding blogger has decided to call it a day. I’m talking of course about Tom McKinney’s ‘Skills-Bills’ website, which has entertained like-minded spotters for the last three years.

Maybe he simply wants to ‘quit while he’s ahead’ (which he certainly is, by a long way), but if it’s just a case of getting bored with it, then please, Tom, don’t be a cunt – at least give us an occasional update. Or maybe you just need to give it a rest for a few months while you recharge your swearing batteries, and then carry on? But if this really is the end, then all I can do is quote from the Master: Fuck. Tits. Bollocks.

Wednesday 12 November 2008


I’m not a big fan of ‘forums’ (yes, I know the correct plural is fora, but it's a very odd word to spring upon people without warning). They always seem to bring out the worst in people (unlike my posts on this site of course...). But despite my general antipathy towards them, I do occasionally look at the Surfbirds one if I see something interesting in the list of messages that appears on the photo gallery pages.

So, having read Mark Reeder’s admirable post on the poor behaviour of some birders at the Steppe Grey Shrike twitch, I thought this thread might be worth a look. It was. In particular I’d like to draw your attention to post #4, from none other than our dear old ‘President’.

Listen to the wise words of El Presidente. If he says that ‘mud-slinging’ is abhorrent, then it must be true, and we must never, never indulge in it. Because once it starts, there is ‘no stopping to it’! We must also follow the Presidential decree to ‘uphold the law that the bird's welfare must come first in all cases.’ And we must all be thankful that our universally respected and democratically elected leader will always play his part when it comes to self-policing at twitches.

Fortunately there’s a good reply further on in the thread to this ludicrous (but totally in character) attempt at claiming the twitching moral high ground. The story of L.A.R.G.Ego emerging from a reedbed with a big stick in his hand reminded me of an incident on St Agnes many years ago, when we witnessed three very eminent birders (at least one of whom was on the BBRC at the time) thrashing about in the reeds surrounding the Big Pool trying to flush an Aquatic Warbler, which could be seen perfectly well from the edge. They did at least have the grace to look sheepish when the error of their ways was gently pointed out to them. Actually I think it was more along the lines of “get out of those fucking reeds NOW!”

I could name and shame them, but I shan’t as that would be mud-slinging, and I’d never do that.