Friday, 28 October 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For


My face feels like someone has been playing Football with it, how do people get addicted to plastic surgery? I think they need their bumps felt, though perhaps that’s what they get out of it. Despite hardly sleeping for the last three nights a bit of viz-migging seemed apt on such a bright clear morning.

It is over 6 years since I added Ring-necked Parakeet to the house list, a heard only Bird. During that time they have gone from strength to strength on the patch but I have never had so much as a glimpse from the house, I knew it would only be a matter of time and today that time came, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets flew low North around 10:00. It will no doubt become a regular sight before long and the novelty will probably wear thin quite quickly but for now...woohoo!

Other highlights were a continuing trickle of Woodpigeons, though not in such numbers as a few days ago, 3 separate Skylarks, a Meadow Pipit, a couple of Mistle Thrushes and a handful of Chaffinches.

It was most pleasant in the sunshine, for the end of October, and I was enjoying the lack of wind and especially the lack of screaming kids from the school over the back until the man with the leaf blower arrived, that was my cue to retreat indoors and play with my new RBA app.

Being an old codger I remember Nancy’s cafe and the constant dialling to get through to someone and then the delicate dance required to get the most up to date news, you couldn’t appear too keen, that wouldn’t be cool and it often took a bit of coaxing to get the ‘gen’ from whoever happened to answer as they too didn’t want to come across as excited by anything and the stock response was ‘nothing about’.

The first automated phone line was a slight improvement as it was available at any time, though it too was often engaged, the main drawback was that it was run by a guy who gave preference to his buddies when it came to the news and you would have to listen to ‘Grey Wagtail, Dipper and Common Sandpiper’ that someone had phoned in from their Welsh holiday before you got to the real rarities.

When the Birdline crew took over it became much more professional but soon became a premium number and hence much more expensive. This was of course before most people had mobile phones and the problem then, if you were on the road as I often was, was trying to find somewhere to park and a working phonebox.

I discussed with Richard Millington the then new technology of pagers, the advantage being that you would get the news as it broke, rather than having to make multiple calls every day, he said it would never catch on as only a few Birders would be paranoid enough to be interested.

About a year later RBA launched their pager service and it slowly became an instant success. I was one of the first twenty or so Birders to get one, in late Autumn 1991. At first if you got 10 messages a day that was good! A few years ago a SMS service was added but it never floated my boat. About a year ago I discussed the possibility of some sort of app, now that pagers are becoming a bit passé, and smart phones a bit smarter. This week the time came and RBA launched ‘Bird Alert Pro’

Last night it took me 5 hours to download the upgrade for the software on my phone to enable me to get the app but now it’s working, (seems fine on 3G too, so hopefully will work in the field OK) and for the first time in 20 years I have switched off the pager (scary!) I wonder what will be the next development.

On this date: 28 10 1989 1 or 2 Wheatears on the Lockwood also 1 Ruff and 4 Lapwings over.

PW

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear the Shorelark didn't pass you by, though a bit miffed to learn yet another of my prime London blockers has fallen...long live White-rumped Sand! How long till the next one? Who nose?!

    Drat, and there was I promising to keep off the schnozzel quips. Reminds me of when I worked in the ol' factory - the hooter was so loud you'd be in danger of conk-ing out with shock...

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