A look into the life of a walker and amateur birder.
Monday, 14 November 2011
Crisis averted, and Ghosts a plenty
Firstly to deal with my earlier crisis of identity. I decided I don't really care about whether I am a photographer, or a birder, or both, or neither. Sometimes I enjoy taking pictures, sometimes I enjoy just watching birds. This was proven to me on Saturday when I spent an hour sat in my garden watching House Sparrows flitting into my tree before grabbing a snack from one of my feeders. I think sometimes when I'm out in the field I grab for the camera, when there isn't really a shot on, and miss the enjoyment of just watching the birds, so if anything I need to learn restraint. Bins first, lens second. That said I did take a few snaps of the Sparrows even though it was a very, very gloomy day, some of them came out quite nice. This is mostly due to the setup I now have being able to deal with those conditions, so to change away from this would be a bad decision.
My "Pet" Sparrows
I can never see myself with a scope watching the seas in the hope of catching migrants, and Patch ticks, year lists don't really have a place in my life. I do keep a record of what I've seen, when and where I've seen them etc., but this is more for a record that I can revisit these places in the future and compare. For example I'm off to RSPB The Lodge in Sandy at the weekend. This time last year there were Waxwings (which I didn't see), Redwings and Fieldfares, Redpolls and Bramblings (which I saw none of), however I did see a Nuthatch and a Goldcrest, both of which I have rubbish photographic records of so to improve on these would be great. So I will continue as I am, but who knows what the future holds.
There be Ghosts
I had the privilege of visiting the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in Shoreditch yesterday, and I was blown away. A couple of things really surprised me, for me the diversity of artforms from Painting to collage, Sculpture to musical installations were incredible, but the real surprise was that my wife was taken aback at the treatment of birds, and the way that humanity is careless in the way we treat the diverse range of lifeforms that share this planet with us. I think the destruction portrayed in birds killed in Malta really shocked her, as it did me. The form of a bird on the floor created from a border of photos of birds, filled in with spent shotgun cartridges was particularly powerful.
There are some extinctions that we have caused, and can't undo but to allow it to continue is appalling. The Dodo you could say we knew no better, but the Albatross? Surely now we know the dangers that we create for these creatures, and to not change the actions that cause their unnecessary deaths is careless in the extreme. Animals will naturally die out, and extinctions sometimes just happen, but when that extinction is caused by Humans then questions need to be asked.
Ralph Steadman Room
Anyway, back to the art and what stood out for me was the Ralph Steadman room. Floor to Ceiling, 4 walls covered in paintings. They laid out binoculars so that you could see the ones at the top of the walls, it was incredible.
The exhibition won't be there for much longer, but I urge anyone to make the effort, you will not regret it.