Interesting points Rosemary.
I'd be keen to hear the views of birding-aussies on the growth of birding in
Australia over the last few years. Rosemary, you may have a view on the similar
growth in birding in the UK during the 1990s. I started twitching the UK in
about 1993. At that time, Birdline was still the main news line and was a
premium rate 50p/min phone number with recorded messages. Pagers only came in a
year or two later and although I attended some massive twitches, in those days
the numbers weren't that great. As far as I can recall, birding became
'mainstream' in the UK only during the 1990s and the growth was astounding. Was
this anything to do with Birdline and pagers?
This brings me to my point.
In Australia, the distances are indeed huge and in fact many of the 'rarities'
are actually resident birds. One of the problems is trying to get up to date
information or even finding out exactly where to see things. I wonder whether
there are far more 'potential' birders out there than we realise. It's a great
hobby but I think I would have really struggled to get into it, if I had had to
learn birding from scratch when arriving in Australia in 2001. A lot of what we
take for granted is not necessarily apparent to the wider population of
Australia. I wonder whether, an effort to make birds more accessible, would see
a much greater number of people taking up birding. There are various ways to do
this but at the heart of these discussions, is the desire to have a more
comprehensive environment for reporting "rarities".
If the birding community can get the formula right, perhaps there is scope for
a far greater commitment to birding and bird conservation in Australia.
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Rare Bird Alerts Data Capture
> Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 10:20:34 +0000
> Another two-penneth from the UK.
> One small point which is worth thinking about - the types of rarities in the
> UK differ somewhat from those in Australia. Many rarities in the UK only hang
> around for very short periods - basically they are lost and are trying to be
> somewhere else. After a feed and a rest they are off again. Or in many cases
> they probably just die. They are also often in difficult-to-access places
> such as northern Scottish islands. So speed and immediacy are of the essence.
> As far as I can tell most rarities in Australia hang around for a while
> (though not quite long enough - we looked for the Burren Junction Lapwing
> about 3 days after it was last seen!) so a web based or email system is
> potentially all that is needed. And also the core group of Twitchers is much
> smaller so they can still use the good old telephone should a mega-important
> thing turn up. I also think a completely unmoderated system such as Twitter
> could be useful - the group concerned is quite small and potentially would
> know each other so it would be up to each user to decide whether they can
> rely on the information being supplied. But the mobile phone coverage issue
> can't be ignored.
> PS We only twitch things in Pembrokeshire (max 40 miles Tony) and only then
> reluctantly, and they have usually gone by the time we get there! And we
> can't use mobile phones either as we have no coverage where we live!
> Rosemary Royle
> Wales, UK