Carrying field guides and backpacks

To: "'Judy Philip'" <>,
Subject: Carrying field guides and backpacks
From: REID Colin <>
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 16:59:55 +1000
Hi all
        I would like to make something very clear here, please!

        I am not a 'twitcher' - or certainly not in my understanding of the
term!! (ie I enjoy a new bird like everyone else, but would not drive out of
my way to see a 'rarity'.)

        I say this 'cause it seems to me that some references in some latter
correspondence suggest I am. (maybe I'm paranoid?)
        Nether am I one of enormous experience - trust me, I have huge
difficulty with Thornbills and other LBBs - especially as calls are
definitely NOT my speciality.  (Maybe a portable CD player with the relevant
CD would help...................) 
        Neither do I consider myself well researched or educated. Flicking
thru Morecombe or any equivalent bird book during the adds. in the evening
or reading bits about a specific family group or species in a casual few
minutes is something I enjoy, but don't schedule! 
        Hey, carry what you want - it's your choice and it would appear the
majority of readers do...... there's no need to justify your decisions! 
        The only way to get experience is to keep trying, out there.
        Whether you're sitting, standing, lying or driving. 
        Carrying a library or relying on memory, charcoal scratchings or
hand painted colour plates!
        It's your personal preference and there is no right or wrong!!

See ya all out there,  


-----Original Message-----
From: Judy Philip 
Sent: Thursday, 1 August 2002 4:43 PM
Subject: Carrying field guides and backpacks

I've watched this correspondence with interest and now dive in where the
proverbial angels fear to tread.

As one who is still wearing 'L' plates (yes, there is actually the
learner who is brave/foolhardy enough to be on the expert BIRDING-AUS list -
though I might *just* claim 'P' plates but had better not), I truly can't
imagine going bird-watching without a Field Guide in my pocket - and I note
that, when I go out, several true experts also carry one (battered - and
usually Slater), and that others of many levels of expertise (invariably
superior to me) are not too proud to avail themselves from time to time of
field guide info if they haven't brought their own guide along.

And as, being not so young nowadays, I can no longer cope with loads
all those early bushwalking carrying years), that means for me a true
field guide i.e. Slater.  And yes, I have another field guide (currently
Morecambe) in the car - and others at home (which I always consult later).
for back-packs, I'd happily carry one - even one with inbuilt chair (won't
into the chair-bird-watching debate) - if I felt comfortable doing so
weight-wise, I now don't), so I stuff everything into such pockets as I have
(hoping that Slater and water will fit) and leave behind what won't go!

My objection to load also means that I use very light, one-hand focussing,
- in my case, 10x25 Nikon, several years old - and, from experience, they
*very* highly recommended by me.

But how, without a field guide in hand, is a learner to identify, or imprint
his/her memory, a bird?  Think of all the negative info, and the struggle to
lose that info later, one might imprint on oneself (while one draws a
and writes a description as recommended) without the *correct* info to hand
reinforcement of *correct* info is the very best of learning mechanisms!!  I
don't think that using a Field Guide produces a case of wishful thinking in
identifying birds (as has been suggested) but that it is rather a case of
reality taking over (courtesy of reading the field guide) from what one
wishfully have hoped one had seen but had not.

For twitchers (Oz/Pom/whatever), it's fine if you want to leave your Field
Guides home in order to increase your challenge if this is seen as a sort of
game (like, for expert aficionado's, crosswords without clues, or
jigsaws - and I appreciate both of these), but birdo beginners, and birdo
learners of all abilities, are in a different category!  I want to learn
it is that I have seen and I  want to be able to identify it next time.  So
Field Guide is my bible and I always take one into the field and will
to do so.

Judy Philip

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