Dooley, Dips and Desperation

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Dooley, Dips and Desperation
From: "Crispin Marsh" <>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 14:52:29 +1100

Dear Birders,

As Sean Dooley was (unbeknown to me) collecting his 400th or so bird in 2002 my general interest in birds erupted into a full blown birding passion during a trip through central Queensland.


In 2003 I began looking for birding sites on the Net and soon came upon Birding-Aus. As I trawled through the postings and looked for information on target birds I kept running into very amusing postings by one Sean Dooly. Gradually it dawned on me that these was all part of a great, and now completed, saga and I sought out its beginnings. Eventually I got to the fateful posting of 31 December 2001 announcing the commencement of the quest.


I so enjoyed the postings that I printed the whole lot out and assembled them into a 25 mm thick folder. I still get considerable pleasure from browsing through Sean?s musings from time to time and have often thought that it would be good to see the postings published as a book.


I was therefore a dead set buyer when I saw a copy in a bookshop in Adelaide (going to buy a field guide in the hope of beguiling a 6 year old nephew into becoming a birder!).


 The differences between the postings and the book are very interesting. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was clearly written for the general reader rather than the keen birder ? they are, after all, a much larger target market! In the postings Sean knows that he is writing for an audience who fully understand what he is doing and why he would be doing it. The book by contrast has a heavy emphasis on seeking to try to explain why anybody would have such a passion. There is an assumption that being a serious birder needs to be explained and excused- no doubt a result of that perfidious high school teacher! Those of us who share the passion don?t need to be convinced.


Buy the book by all means.  The poor lad definitely needs the royalties now that he has a love interest to feed and nurture! If you are a serious birder, however, go back to the postings AS WELL. It is there that you will find the raw passion, the determination to succeed, the despondency that comes with dips, and the unalloyed pleasure of finding that long sought for species.



Peter Marsh

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