Friday 5 July 2013

A message from a one-time twitcher

There is pandemonium in UK twitching circles. Dusky Thrush, Pacific Swift, White-throated Needletail, Bridled Tern and now an Ascension Frigatebird. I cannot tell you how pleased I am that I reached my personal milestone at the beginning of the summer, and with a British list now well over 400, I remain extremely relaxed.

The trouble is, and as this summer is demonstrating, there is always the next one. The die-hard twitcher can never give up. How many people told their wives that the Dusky Thrush was the only bird that they would be going for this year? After the Pacific Swift, how many marriages ended? The Needletail? Gah! And then almost immediately a pressing need to go to Northumberland. And now Islay. I am truly thankful for my rational side, as I am not sure I would have lasted the pace. I suppose that makes me a failed twitcher - I can live with that. How I ever came by a reputation for filthiness I have no idea, but there is no way that a normal human being with a normal life could ever balance that little lot. I suppose "normal" is the key word....this is a topic I plan to return to in the coming weeks....

Personally I've just put two bottles of Rosé in the fridge, and my interest in twitching is possibly at an all-time low. It's a funny old game, especially given how single-minded I was at the beginning of the year. I think the key is knowing when to stop. The trouble is that if you stop, is all the prior effort wasted? Maybe, or maybe not. It depends on your point of view. If you view it as a competition, yes - you've done the hard yards but failed to stay the course. If it's just a bit of fun, then no, and different twitchers are motivated by different things, and this weekend I'm motivated by the following:

- the aforementioned bottles of chilled Rosé
- a school friend's house-warming party
- the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park (!)

On this latter point I have somehow jammed a free ticket. This is entirely due to karma, having given my mate a ticket to the Counting Crows earlier this year. It would of course be nice if some of these monster birds were a little closer. Having now twitched Scilly, Shetland and the Western Isles the sensible bit of me realises that this is pretty silly. For one bird? Very silly. Luckily the big ones I've been on are so far away that they tend to turn into nice little trips rather than smash and grabs, but nonetheless.

I have no idea how many people are currently en route to Glasgow and the western isles, there to throw money at charter pilots or whatever. Good luck to them I say, though please don't congratulate anybody on being able to drive a car, read a map, have a pile of ready cash and depart from real life at a moment's notice. I'm currently content to sit and watch how this one develops. The sky outside is blue, the fridge is humming nicely (any minute now I reckon) and there are few places I would rather be than right here. Though that Bee-eater hide in the Hortobágy .....


  1. "...though please don't congratulate anybody on being able to drive a car, read a map, have a pile of ready cash and depart from real life at a moment's notice. "

    I've been banging on about this very thing Jonno, the canonisation of those that can 'do' these simple tasks. It used to take acts of selfless bravery to be given hero status. Not any more.

  2. Playing it cool - yr as chilled as that rose, enjoy the weather.....

    Laurie -