North Pole And Twitcher Tantrums

I was dropping Jane off in North Shore at lunchtime so stopped at the go-kart track to try and get pictures of the two Purple Sandpipers that roost here with Turnstones. The waders were not playing ball, hanging out on the inaccessible track wall nearest the sea. I thought I could see one ‘Purp’ but couldn’t be entirely sure.

As you can see above though the regular Polish Black-headed Gull yellow TNVC was more obliging. It was ringed as an adult in May 2020 1165 kilometres away in Lubczyna, in the north west of that country. It is regular on the northern edge of the circuit wall in winter at high tides so if you walk this part of the Promenade keep an eye out for it.

Otherwise when not working today my attention has been focused on twitchers complaining about being asked to pay to go on private land to view the Belted Kingfisher on the outskirts of Preston. I summarised the matter, including some of the cynicism when it was first reported, on Facebook as follows:

It’s obviously well known that some birders spend thousands of pounds on optics, cameras, birding holidays and so on but can be very tight fisted when it comes to collections for car parking, access and the like. I have to admit I still don’t get it. If you’ve travelled hundreds of miles to see a bird you covet so much why would you begrudge someone a few quid for safe car parking or viewing access on private land.

What was different this time was some of the comments on social media. The farmer was referred to as ‘The Grinch’, and a lot worse that I am unable to repeat on here. I can only imagine how the people involved would feel if sizeable groups of strangers started going onto their land or property without permission and expected to do so for free and until such undefined time as they judged themselves satisfied and willing to leave.

People were speculating about whether the farmer concerned would be declaring any collection for tax purposes. Other birders have been parking at the pub and attempting to do so without paying for the privilege or eating there. These people may be the minority but to reiterate what I said on Facebook, it’s no wonder birders sometimes get a bad name.

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