8th May. Carbon Neutral Twitching.

The occurence of a Brown-headed Cowpat on Fair Isle has given me an idea for a new form of Twitching that given the current economic conditions, pandemic madness and our duty to protect the environment is sure to catch on. So ladies and gentlemen I give you Carbon Neutral Twitching.
Here's how it works.

Stage 1. The pager alerts you to a new British Tick, in this instance we'll use the Cowbird.

Stage 2. Funds.

Check that you have the appropriate funds. If yes go to stage 3

Stage 3. Travel arrangements

If the target is within immediate striking distance go to stage 4.

Now in this case you should now check the availability of flights. However I know allready that there are no flights going near Fair Isle this weekend as it's horribly windy. So it's the Sunday night ferry from Aberdeen and pre book a flight from Tingwall which I would have got my Shetland contact to arrange. If no travel is possible then it's a non starter otherwise go to stage 4.

Stage 4. Request leave.

This is the easy bit if like me your boss is very understanding - however the other half won't be quite as easy! However you should have no problem convincing her that your sanity depends on it and that you'll bring her something nice back like an itchy Fair Isle jumper.

With stages 1-4 complete you are now ready for your carbon neutral tick. It's simple really you can just stay at home and wait. On Monday the Cowbird appears on the pager, now providing it is there at the time your flight would have arrived you can tick it - after all you would have seen it anyway and if like me you've seen 100's of Cowbirds it doesn't really matter. Obviously if it isn't there on Monday you dip. So fingers crossed come Monday I can add it to the list from the comfort of my front room - after all at least one leading twitcher has been doing this for years.

This might all sound slightly insane but if nothing else proves that twitching is utterley futile and clearly a form of OCD. Will realisation of this change me? Probably not!


Andy Mackay said...

Personally I like to cut out all the crap about checking whether you have funds (I don't need to check anyway - I know I can't afford it), pretending to arrange travel etc and just look at the photos on Surfbirds. It's completely free (apart from the small cost of the elctricity for the computer) and wastes even less time!

Andy Mackay said...

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that you don't even need to waste money on a pager - either look at the free Birdguides news, or just wait till the photos appear on Surfbirds.

tommyart said...

That is not a made in Fair Isle Jumper. That is ugly as hell! Buy a nice Fair Isle Hat for about 25.00 pounds, every birdwatcher should have one. it's a true symbol of a British Birdwatcher. It would be nice if the small island economy would benefit from the great birding. But does it? most people don't eat or sleep on isle when twitching birds on Fair Isle. The Fair Isle Bird Obs watches the bird and ferries people around the isle for free and still many find it hard to find the tick box. No one thinks of shopping? truth is there is not much to buy, so the money goes to planes boats etc. remember this... Fair Isle is the cheapest place you'll ever twitch getting there that the problem. I live on Fair Isle the cowbird is eating bird seed just a few feet outside my kitchen window but i'm in Aberdeen for the weekend, So I feel your pain. Remember if you go to Fair Isle or not Fair Isle Bird Observatory is fund raising for a rebuild and needs your help.

Mark said...

I can only echo your sentiments Tommy. The problem with a large percentage of birders is that they are among some of the tightest bastards on Earth, except when it comes to lining the pockets of oil companies. Next time I visit Fair Isle I will purchase a new hat to replace the one I bought in '86

Rob said...

Tommy - Shetland birders (as opposed to those who twitch Shetland from elsewhere) always donate at least £10 per tick when they visit Fair Isle (£20 for the Citril Finch!), which goes into the FIBO funds. And Shetland birders quite often have to stay overnight - there are at least two there tonight, and there will be two tomorrow night(including me!)if the cowbird is still there, so we do conribute to the island by paying for a B&B, using the shop to buy fags, sweets, beer etc.

However, in general you are right - most birders can find £500 to get somewhere at the drop of a hat, but then mysteriously "have no spare change" when a collection box comes round! (although I'm sure there are honourable exceptions to this)

Lovely calm clear night here tonight - ideal buggering-off weather for a cowbird...

Anonymous said...

If only your Wood Duck would have taken the hint and buggered off Rob.

Rob said...

If only I'd supressed it and released the news in the last few days