Comedown

After the adrenalin rush of a spontaneous dash down the road to Orkney for a new bird, today was always going to be a little bit of an anticlimax. A party of Pink-footed Geese heading south over the house this morning as I left for work was the alkaseltzer to the post-twitch blues, and another incremental step closer to the 100 target I’ve set myself for the house yearlist. (An exercise I shan’t be repeating next year – I am well out of practice at the whole listing thing, and having meaningless targets to aim for is unexpectedly stressful, even when it’s as trivial as a house yearlist. 2010 new year’s resolution? No more lists, apart from the entirely passive self-found list).

Seemingly I wasn’t the only one to notice the thoughtless blundering of a very few over-zealous twitchers on South Ronaldsay yesterday – there has been plenty of chatter about it on Birdforum and elsewhere yesterday evening and today from other twitchers and some Orkney resident birders. Tempting though it was to post my photos of the transgressors in the act, I’ve taken advice that so doing is entering potentially hot legal water, should anyone feel sufficiently litigious. Heyho. Shame I didn’t have a wide angle lens handy to immortalise both the various birds fleeing and them standing out in the middle of nowhere trying to whistle nonchalantly and act inconspicuous all in one incontrovertible photo.

Of course, the only law they’ve broken is an unspoken one that most birders adhere to – a sensible code of conduct. Strictly speaking, they had every right (especially here in Scotland) to roam wherever they so please… it’s just the vast majority of birders who think that repeatedly flushing feeding birds (and not only vagrant cranes – just ask the wildfowl and waders in South Ronaldsay yesterday) is plain unacceptable.

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