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!
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