Someone asked me recently how you become a good birder. Well, I’m not sure I am, yet, a good birder but I was reminded of some thoughts I read in Simon Barnes’s most excellent book How to be a bad birdwatcher (Short Books, London, 2006) (which you really should read): ‘I have developed the habit of looking: when I see a bird I always look, wherever I am.’ And, in response to seeing a ‘How often do you go birdwatching?’ questionaire in a birdwatching magazine, ‘I don’t go birdwatching. I am birdwatching’ (my emphasis).
This photograph is, I think, an example of what Simon meant. A couple of days ago I went for a wander around the local town of Barry and was at the station, waiting for my train home, when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement above me. Two birds were walking along the beams that support the platform roof. So, of course, I had to look closer to see what they were – two lovely Collared doves – and, as I had my camera in my backpack, I had to quickly grab a couple of photos before my train pulled in. I am always looking! I am always birdwatching!