Monday, 7 April 2014
The world is changing
My formative years involved a degree of birding but not anything like my interest today. As a youngster(6-13) I would go out on frequent occasions with my Godfather Merv onto Farlington Marshes in Portsmouth & with my £10 bins and Mervs expert guidance I would happily watch the waders and passerines that frequented the Salt-marsh and surrounding fields. If I am being honest, after an hour or so I was a little bored of looking at Redshanks and Ringed Plovers through Mervs scope and found myself scrabbling down the seawall onto the mud revealed by low tide! Here I found crabs(dead & alive) all manner of Molluscs as well as small brown birds happily darting around the tussocks of grass on the Salt-marsh. Could I have told you these were Rock Pipits as I now know they were? Of course not, but at that age I was just enjoying the wonder of everything nature had to show me. From time to time Merv would call me back up the seawall to see something in the scope. Bearded Tits as they were then known, before genetics revealed that they are infact not tits at all. Maybe a Marsh Harrier haunting the reedbeds in that way only a Marsh Harrier can. Or the creme de la creme of British birding which we now take for granted.... The Little Egret! All in all it was a wondrous time for me and I am privileged with having supportive parents and a highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic Godfather. Am I feeling nostalgic?.... Maybe, but what got me thinking about my upbringing surrounded by the natural world was my son. He is 6 months old in 2 days time and although he looks at me with that innocent and frankly adorable face I sit and wonder what his generations perception of the natural world will be. I am, at 27, one of the early members of a very sedentary and wasteful generation. My nephew, at 2 years old, uses iPhones and Tablets better than most teenagers and certainly better than me. A friends son at 4 years old has his own Tablet...... Why? What happened to digging a hole in the back garden, planting sunflowers with Mum and Dad and having a summer long contest as to whose grew the highest. I hope with what I feel is a great upbringing for me, I can pass on some of the passion for the natural world I have to my son! As a member of the BTO, RSPB, HWT and a trainee ringing volunteer, as a keen birder with twitching tendencies I hope that he is immersed enough to at least care what is around him, to care that the things he does and the choices he makes will have an impact. The thought of a silent spring is, in my books, unbearable, but with every passing year the reports of declines in our native wildlife gives this idea wings. It will be in my generation, if current trends continue, that we will witness the extinction of the Turtle Dove from our shores. A charismatic species that you could once upon a recent time see across the south of the UK, but is now limited to small pockets and even then rarely seen. So it is with a sepia toned nostalgic view that I encourage each and every person that has kindly taken the time to read this piece to take up the mantle, be it with your own offspring, a relative or even a friends children. Show them the wonder of nature, even if your knowledge is not complete your passion will inspire a generation. Your local Wildlife Trust will have a range of activities for the whole family, guided walks, pond dipping etc... The same goes for the BTO & RSPB check out the links below. I am not affiliated with these organisations just an avid supporter of their work.