A book for beginners wanting to get more serious about birding.

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A book for beginners wanting to get more serious about birding.

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Hi-

this book is written for the american market but with a bit of 'translation'  gives you great info on all aspects of moving from being a birdwatcher to starting Birding. It covers choosing  bins and scopes, clothing, where and how to bird, fieldcraft, going on a pelagic, etc.

 

'Pete Dunne on Bird watching'

:)

S

All Replies
  • seymouraves
    ....................going on a pelagic.........

    Not for me then.  I get seasick :- )

  • Hi-

    check out another of PD's goodies- The art of bird-finding.

    Again written for the American market ( I haven't seen anything comparable for this side of the pond)

    S

  • seymouraves

    Hi-

    check out another of PD's goodies- The art of bird-finding.

    Again written for the American market ( I haven't seen anything comparable for this side of the pond)

    S

    Well, there's an opportunity for you 'S'! Seriously, though, I'm sure such a book might be helpful for struggling birdwatchers like me.
  • I suggested such to a major publisher 2 years ago ( no names but they also publish a certain young wizards story) and was told they had something similar in the pipeline.

    Haven't seen it yet

    S

  • Hi-  differences between birding in the USA and the GB- a personal opinion based on 30  years of jumping the pond to bird stateside.

    Approach-

    The stateside birders in general think that we are too obsessive- it's very much a social thing there. Meet for organised walks, chat with buddies while the leader at the front finds the birds on a walk thru woods on a  boardwalked trail . Picnic half way and often done after a couple of hours.  Coach trips don't appear to be the norm .A top US tour leader friend of mine remarked that he likes Brits on his tours because they are genned up and find their own birds. The US participants tend to let the leader do the work. It's not unknown for them to sit on the bus til he finds the local speciality then get off to tick it - trust me- I was there!

    Equipment-

    Considering the yanks led the way with scopes in the 60's and 70's ( and especially with tripods)it seems strange that it's not unusual to meet US birders at scope friendly sites ( Cape May, Pelee, Big Bend, Monterey) carrying just bins. Brit birders seem welded to their Carbon fibre !

    Also, the straight thru scope seems more popular in the US. It's been suggested ( Pete Dunne in lit) that this is because US birders move quicker from site to site whereas Brits stand and work an area-  seawatch and use hides more.

    As regards binoculars a quick look at  US birders at a good birding site shows a high number of the usual top end Big 5 manufacturers. There was certainly a liking for 7x35 and 7x42 in the states in previous decades. It seems that although 8x42 could be regarded as the norm  the East coast birders preferred 7x42s- in part because of a preponderance of wooded birding areas and west coast birders had a tendency to use 10x42s because of the wide open spaces.

    8X42 ( or close)  appears to be the commonest choice now on both sides of the Atlantic  at the moment, 10x42  or 8x32  probably a close second but I'm not aware of any surveys to back that up, it's just based on general observation. It's claimed 40% of all  bins bought in the USA are purchased by hunters and they prefer 10x42.

    Books-

    Americans habitually carry  field guides, it's not really discouraged but the 'British method' does get mentioned. However at Titchwell on a sunny Saturday there are plenty of Collins, RSPB and other  Pocket guides in evidence. Serious birders on both sides don't carry them.

    Attitudes-

    sorry but the yanks are a friendly bunch who tell you what they've seen -

    'Hey we saw a Blue Grosbeak down by the dyke- I'll show you where'!

    Brits tend to be a bit more downbeat, sceptical - 

    'it's was in the sueda, difficult , took us three hours for barely tickable views- hope you get it- hasn't been seen for two hours - good luck'!

    Average age-

    I'm told it's about 47 in GB and possibly older in the US but I have no empirical data; Certainly  many US retirees take it up in their free time. Average age of many tours would seem to bear this out in my experience but maybe young keenies do their own thing for economic or other reasons. My gut feeling is this may be because many  US males  in  professions work like crazy ( they don't take holidays often- it's not their work ethic) until about 55 then retire and need a hobby.

    Female Birders

    There seem to be many more in the US- possibly because of the social aspect and also the birding location opportunities- see next item

    Birding Sites

    Let's face it- the USA is a continent and they all speak the same language and it has a massive North - South sweep of habitats and bird species, and a good transport and accommodation infrastructure. You can find places to stay for arctic auks right down to Neo-tropical invaders.

    And they have huge national parks full of chunks of wilderness that we just don't have here. AND they have Rest rooms everywhere which makes them waaay more Female Birder friendly. A lone woman birder is far more likely  to go to a national park than an East London rubbish dump. 

    Birds

    American birds  ( especially migrants ) are showy and fairly reliable as regards arrival dates  / habitat preference  /AND are  amenable to pishing and  IMHO  easier to find than GB birds in general-  ( although US  numbers have dropped in the past 40 years  )  Also the USA has  exceptional migrant hotspots- something we don't really have in GB. HOWEVER it has to be said the average Brit Birder does work harder when over there because

    1- He's paid a lotta money to get there

    2- He's only got 12 days

    3- HE'S USED TO FLOGGING AWAY FOR HOURS ON BORING QUIET DAYS  FINDING ONLY A DUNNOCK- so a slow day at Cape May when he only finds a dozen species of warblers will keep him happy.

    I compared a Spring day at Lesbos ( Greece)  with a day at Point Pelee ( Canada) and a day in  north Norfolk ( GB)

    - PP   scored  92  -   6 miles travelled

    -  LB   scored  94  - 20 miles travelled

    -  NN  scored  99  - 40 miles travelled

    Geographical location is all :)

    :)

    S