I have come up with a new invention which will make bird-watching so very much easier for everyone who, like me, finds binoculars a challenge. It is perfectly possible that some clever entrepreneur is busily working away
on perfecting my Grand Idea, without requiring any input from me - but please remember you read it here first...
It was our monthly Birdwatching Group meet-up today and we were at beautiful Pulborough Brooks
again. I was inordinately excited at being able to present my brand-new RSPB membership card at the reception desk, so saving myself the £3.50 entrance to the reserve. It wasn't the cash saving, it was the Feeling of Belonging.
We had all prepared ourselves for disappointment by reminding each other that generally we see mostly ducks on this visit. The clue is in the name, don't you know? Pulborough Brooks spells watery. Perhaps it was because today was such
a change from the wind and rain of yesterday - whatever the reason the birds were out for us today. If, that is, you could pick them out atop the trees, or hopping about in the undergrowth.
Everyone in the
Birdy Group is so helpful. As I train my binoculars upwards - helplessly, haplessly - to spot the bird which everyone else can see apart from me, they are there with advice and encouragement:
"See that tree.
No, not that tree, the one behind. The one with horizontal branches. Now look at the middle horizontal branch and then look up about, say, twelve inches to the right, slightly hidden by the cluster of catkins - oh! sorry, it's flown away..." The bird, that
is, not the cluster of catkins.
The Birdy Group has an unspoken rule that, when compiling our tally of Birds Spotted, it isn't necessary for everyone to spot every bird. If just one person spots, say, a chaffinch
then it's as good as seen by One And All. Even me. Thus I am able to report back to Mr B on a most successful Bird Related morning, despite having missed spotting 75% of Available Birds For Spotting Purposes.
Christine is fast becoming an Ace Spotter. Time was when she spent our mornings pointing out Little Brown Jobs. Or LBJs as we took to calling them. I congratulate her on het Spotting Ability. Me, I am suffering from refractive surprise, as in my eyes refusing
to cooperate, the one with the other. Once the cataracts in my left eye have been removed I will see so much more clearly. I may still struggle to distinguish my chaffinch from my bullfinch but that will be solely attributable to my lack of Bird Identification
Ability rather than anything Sight Related.
Which brings me to my invention. I bet you thought I'd forgotten, what with my twittering on for several paragraphs without ever getting to the point. Ah, yes, but
whose Daily Blog is this, anyway?
Think, if you will, about the following scenario. You don a pair of special spectacles which can turn into binoculars at the flick of a switch when you spy a Feathered Friend
up in the topmost branches of a far-off tree. An app (yes, I do indeed have all the technological terminology off pat) immediately takes in the critical features of said bird - its size, length of beak and tail, colour, distinguishing features - then calculates
all the possible variables before registering its conclusion on screen: "Goldfinch", it will say categorically. Or "Tree creeper." No more Little Brown Jobs. Even I will be able to be an Expert Bird Spotter.
On the way back to the Visitor Centre, I catch sight of an enchanting bird flitting from branch to branch, right under my nose. It's a goldcrest! It's beautiful - and it's performing just for us. I am ridiculously proud of myself for being the first
to spot it.
Let's hear it for the Birdy Group! Who needs technology anyway?