Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sole searching

I mentioned I never saw other birders while viz-migging at the point. I did twice met birders as I came off the point.

One didn't talk (my kinda birder), the other pumped me for info, and was someone I recognised from challenging me before. Sharps Green, couple of years ago. In the background, wildfowlers on Copperhouse, guns going off.

I came along path, in my camo (yup, I love it, it works) and was instantly called out by that birder as being a shooter- even though my tripod (gun?) was over my shoulder. Got a curt 'what you just been shooting?' and no hint of apology for accusing when I said I was a birdwatcher. Just straight to "what have you seen then?" Got answer they earnt that day. "Nothing here, only just arrived."

So, this time when shooting came up, I played a bit. The trigger was 'it's disgusting they shoot here, what if they get a Green-winged Teal?'

I explained, from my chats them, I knew the local shooters were actually extremely good at i.d. but knew that argument wouldn't hold. (Besides, I wouldn't expect a shooter to i.d. a 'GrETe' in flight as much as I'd expect a birder to.) So, instead, I asked "..do you yourself look for Green-wingeds here? Have you had one? Only there are one or two of the wildfowlers who are members of local bird groups and watch out for news like that, then get word out and help avoid problems.." Quiet. I offered "I always go through the Teal myself." I was told they were too far out, they often only used binoculars. Then I was asked if did get Green-winged here.

I explained there was one birder, an ex-local, who always comes down for a week in the spring to see family and makes the most of any birding time by going through the Teal flocks. He told me he had found a couple in the past few years. Late winter is a good time for a turnover of birds as winterers from further south start moving back.

We parted amicably. Hopefully, one more birder who might now look a bit harder for the 'fellow travellers' in the 'carrier species'. So I can just carry on counting.

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