Sunday, 19 October 2008

Enthusiasts! Birds, Ships and Trains

As we pulled up in the car park at Titchwell RSPB reserve in Norfolk we realised that we were not "in uniform". All the birders were dressed in green or the odd rebel in dark blue. It was obvious my pink would not do ( I know, I would hardly be inconspicuous in it!) so after a scrabble round the boot I found something more in keeping. After a poke around the visitor center and getting caught by a man trying to sell us some new binoculars ( he'd obviously spotted our ancient bins ) we struck out into the reserve. It's a fabulous place and there is so much to see, but we felt rather dim as our knowledge is well below most of the people there looking at the birds.
When we reached the third hide a nice couple passed us and said that lots of people were in the hide getting very excited about some bird...but they didn't know what it was!...They made us feel better! We went and had a look and saw 3 Avocets in front of the hide.
I have a confession to make here.....I shamefully sat myself next to a man who was an expert birder ( I know this because he was dripping with binoculars, telescope,a hat and he didn't need an ID book to identify birds )and he was trying to tell his wife what birds she could see....and I eavesdropped! As a result I saw Black tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Wigeon, Pintail, Snipe and a Ruff, well, I couldn't actually locate the Ruff so that doesn't count! My husband was busy trying to disown me and was looking out of the hide like he knew what he was looking at...he didn't...when I asked him what he could see he said..a duck!
Another day we stopped off at Felixstowe and watched the ships going past for a few moments, huge ships full of containers. you could watch them being guided in by the tug boats and it passed a pleasant few minutes while we had something to eat.
Munching happily we were approached by a man who was a 'ship spotter' I guess, who proceeded to tell us all the details about the ships until I felt I may lose the will to live! He only stopped when three tugboats went to the mouth of the estuary which apparently means a big ship is on its way, he then shot off in the direction of the said ship! These guys also have a uniform....jeans, anorak, a beard, binoculars and a notebook and a flask of tea ( or something )....most are biggish guys ( not all though) and sit in their cars facing the water to watch.
And finally the Gricer or Train spotter who also wear a uniform and smell faintly of engine oil and steam. My husband likes to see an old steam train but wouldn't class himself as a gricer as he doesn't collect numbers or chase around all over the place to see one. However I have occasionally found myself waiting for hours for a glimpse of a train on the main line which shoots past in a matter of seconds!
Well there is nothing wrong with any of these pursuits but I just found it interesting to see how each group adopts a sort of unwritten dress code. I suppose I would be a birder, but not very seriously and definitely no twitching involved!

12 comments:

MrsL said...

Great post! I love people who are passionate about what they are interested in, rather than just "being interested".

You want to see me in a wool shop............:)

Goosey said...

Mrsl....Is your uniform a knitted creation!!!

Duxbury Ramblers said...

You are right Goosey, it's amazing that people do seem to wear a uniform when part of a club or group, when I first turned up at a wild flower foray I had my green walking anorak and boots on and low and behold I fit in perfectly, not that I wouldn't have, they are a grand lot. Good set of photos again.

Tattyanne said...

loved your post Goosey! It did make me laugh. Keep it up... see you soon? Tattyanne

Tricia said...

Wonderful posts about Norfolk/Suffolk, Goosey. I'm not as up on bird knowledge as I'd like to be, and do exactly the same as you LOL.

I love Titchwell and Norfolk and at this time of the year it's so good for birds.

Bovey Belle said...

I'd have eavesdropped too!

funkymonkey said...

Lovely post, it made me chuckle.

happyone said...

I may not know the names of a lot of birds that I see but that doesn't make them any less beautiful or fun to watch.
I also love to watch trains but I then again, doesn't every one! :-)

Jean said...

I also would have eased drop (or possibly went one step further and asked the guy if he wouldn't mind sharing his knowledge with me. I am not one to follow the crowd, but I guess I wouldn't have wanted to scare away the birds by wearing pink. Funny post.

Bovey Belle said...

Anoraks - they used to be so trendy - when I was about 16!!!

By the way, you've been tagged, so visit my blog . . . I hope you'll join in.

Teresa said...

Your photographs and commentary are always so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Border Reiver said...

Did you not know Goosey, anoraks, thermos flasks binoculars and notebooks are de rigeur for Twitchers (green coats), Ship spotters (blue coats) and Train Spotters (coal streaked coates) :-) All what makes Britain Great. Nice posting and glad you saw some good birds from the hide.... I have a friend who as a warden calls everything feathered a Budgie, he says it saves trying to identify it. So your husbands duck fits the bill.