Birdwatch June 2020

I’ve only skimmed through the current issue of Birdwatch so far but if we ever had a rainy day then I’d settle down to read it.

There’s an interesting article on why Mya-Rose Craig was chosen to be the youngest person ever to receive an honorary doctorate in the UK and another on garden rarities – what scope Birdwatch has! Talking of scope, Mike Alibone reviews the RSPB Avocet Spotting Scope and finds it to be OK, particularly in woolands and you always need a scope in woodlands!

Tony Juniper’s Natural England gets a mention from Dominic Mitchell over licensing Peregrine-snatching by falconers and a few pages further on they appear in my column contrasting the difficulty of licensing the release of the native White-tailed Eagle (that flew close to my garden in east Northants) with the lack of control of releasing 45+ million non-native Pheasants into the countryside each year – although, maybe not this year?

But I was struck by the record of Black-winged Kite in Alderney and the speculation that the first British (or Irish?) record can’t be that far away – surely. This is a favourite bird of mine and always reminds me of great places I’ve visited in Spain and Portugal. One can fly over my garden any time it likes – I’d stand a very good chance of identifying it correctly!

Overall, it’s quite surprising how many rarities were picked up by birders in April-May. Maybe staying at home and concentrating on what flies past is a good strategy after all – although I’m not sure my current location, location, location is ever going to be as productive as somewhere more coastal.

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2 Replies to “Birdwatch June 2020”

  1. I’m ambivalent about Mya-Rose Craig. Personable young woman, great at engaging the BAME community and young people generally. But her stated ambition to see all the bird species in the world (I understand she’s well on her way) speaks to both immense privilege and having a gigantic carbon footprint. Not being aware of the extent of your privilege at her age is understandable and entirely forgivable – I wasn’t much aware of mine at that age – but she really ought to know better about celebrating so much indulgent flying.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Not sure how much achievement seeing so many bird species is, after all if one has the time and the money its then just a question of the inclination and being obsessive enough to try. But then I never really did get competitive twitching, both are environmentally suspect. I like to see a new or rare bird as much as the next birder, but within reason.

      As has been said her work with youngsters and those from a BAME background is laudable, but there are many youngsters less able to self promote and from less privileged backgrounds who do equally good work in raising awareness of conservation issues with their generation and who are very good active conservationists, Findlay Wilde springs to mind who is both eloquent, knowledgeable and devotes a considerable amount of his time to the conservation.

      But then how much does such an award mean? Very little in my book.

      What has been sad is the negative reaction expressed by some members of the birding community which has been unforgivable in content and manner.

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