I suppose I'm a bird photographer because when I'm out birding, if I can, I like to take photographs of some of the birds I'm watching. So based on that description a lot of us are bird photographers, or we certainly like taking photographs of birds to enrich our birding and make digital memories for a future date. The difference between my bird photography and the ignorant tosser who walked the full length of the beach today flushing waders is that I respect the birds welfare and I guess that you do too.
Ian and I were seawatching from the observation tower when we could hear waders alarm calling and we just assumed that it was yet another dog walker walking along the beach allowing their mutt to flush the roosting waders. Looking down we were surprised (or perhaps not) to see a, I don't think I can call him a birder, a 'bird photographer' perhaps, walking all the way along the beach flushing Oystercatchers, Sanderlings, Dunlins and Ringed Plovers. He had all the characteristic gear and abysmal field craft of a bird photographer. First up he had no bins, just a whopping great big lens that was covered in camouflage webbing! Of course when you get a top notch tosser flushing every avian creature within 200 yards a bit of camouflaged webbing on his lens is going to make all the difference! I don't know why these clowns don't carry bins, perhaps they don't think they need them because they like to be able to sit right next to the bird and take photographs of the birds eyelid colour with their huge penis extensions, sorry I mean lenses.
This 'character' walked all the way along the beach, perhaps some 500 metres, negotiating groynes, crunching on shingle, until he got to where he thought his 'quarry' was and then headed back. Suddenly he dropped to the deck and became a fully fledged member of the SAS and started to stalk whatever he was after. That bit of camouflage webbing on his lens would have made all the difference of course allowing him to get close to the poor wretched creature that he was trying to fill his viewfinder with. Fast forward some time and he must have been pleased with his efforts as he trotted back along the shore 'high-fiving' a fellow bird flusher! We'll re-visit this character in a bit when we had a close encounter with him and his behaviour got even worse!
It was a fairly blustery old morning with full cloud cover and a 25 - 30 mph WNW wind. It was quieter on the sea than expected and the northerly element was probably to blame, well that's my excuse anyway. Our totals included twelve Eiders, two Wigeons, 15 Pintails, 25 Teal, two Auk sp., a Great Crested Grebe, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Shelduck, two Red-throated Divers and four Kittiwakes.
After perhaps an hour and a half we headed to the Point to count the waders and seemed to have got caught up in a bit of a throng of bird photographers who were moving from the picnic area (where they could be seen harassing the Shore Lark and our 'new friend' was amongst them) to the shore. I'm guessing they had flushed the Shore Lark after getting too close, which they do on a daily basis by the way, and now wanted to annoy it some more on the beach.
Walking out along the seafront saw our intrepid bird photographer walking the other way. We stopped to count the 50 Sanderling and 44 Ringed Plover and there feeding close in front of us was the 1st winter female Snow Bunting. Suddenly 'bird photo' saw us watching the Snow Bunting and he came running back towards us. He then stood in front of us, jumped over the sea wall and started to run along the beach behind the groyne towards the Snow Bunting. Of course the bird flushed and some half-wit with 'bird photo' shouted "it's flying, it's flying"! I thought "there's no flies on you f*ckface is there"? Before either of us killed somebody we headed back down the Point.
Unsurprisingly the Snow Bunting came 'high tailing' over our heads (obviously flushed by this by now getting seriously tedious idiot) and landed on the beach close to us. Again we were enjoying our views of this cracking little bird when the tedious idiot returned and by now I'd had enough of him. He was about to jump on to the beach again and I gave him some advice which was basically telling him in language that he would understand that he was to get off the beach and let the Snow Bunting have a chance to feed. Did the advice work? Well it did for as long as we were there, but as we walked away he was back on the beach. What a complete and utter tosser! He needed his big lens taking off him and shoving it sideways where the sun doesn't shine!
It's forecast to be windy again tomorrow, so it will probably be some more seawatching for me, hopefully without the distractions of more bird photographers!
Saturday 17th FEbruary - Yesterday, Gary had spotted a *Gannet* off the top of Ardnave Point. Today, he had a *Golden Eagle* soaring around above Bunnahabhain. Here at home, there ...
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