Like many people I have surrendered details that I wouldn’t give the Government to Facebook in order to see what friends that I’d forgotten about are currently eating, watching or, at a stretch, thinking. I never thought that I would, then, when I left my job, I realised that it was the only way to keep some sort of link with people I’d enjoyed interacting with, because generally, most people are lousy at keeping in touch.
My Facebook is heavily laden with bird and dragonfly sites, perhaps very much as expected, and, from time to time, I’ll contribute a comment, a photo or a ‘like’. In keeping with many people I’d like to be able to dislike and, perhaps, also be able to show a degree of indifference to something. By being in lots of bird groups you get to see a lot of stuff, there are indeed many birders out there getting out, seeing things, photographing them and graciously sharing their efforts.
This, I feel, is all good for birding, and the sharing is actually a bonus. You often learn things and you get to admire other people’s work and experiences. Then there is the other side, the side that just gets to you a bit, if you let it. After a very short time on Facebook you start to realise that some people must spend their lives in darkened rooms, perhaps ones that are locked by people in white uniforms at specified times, their rings of keys hanging from their belts and making a chinking noise as they pad down the magnolia painted corridor. It is the only way to explain some of the weird stuff that Facebook throws up.
Facebook also shows us that, out there, people prefer to be spoon-fed, rather than exercise their brains. Who has not looked at a request for ID help and screamed at the screen, “for goodness sake, get a book”! So many people out there seem incapable of opening a field guide and finding say a hawk with a red tail. Northern Cardinal is one of the easiest of birds to identify but still you get the request. It doesn’t end there.
When people post truly crap photos, the sort most of us delete as a waste of pixels, you get ‘likes’ and comments of how wonderful the piece of junk is. Then there are those that put the comment ‘bird whisperer’. I can’t actually write what I think about people who make that comment, it would be too offensive and I know I shouldn’t get annoyed by it, but I do.
Most people in forums just sit and lurk, I do to mostly. Not because I couldn’t write something about a particular thread, but because I prefer not to get involved. On the few occasions that I have posted a photo in a forum and asked for comments, well some of the comments take condescension to a new level. I posted a shot of an immature Scarlet Tanager once, it had a lot of white in the wings, especially on the tertials, and one of the replies effectively told me I was wasting people’s time and that I should learn the birds. From the tone, I’m guessing that I was birding well before he was just a bunch of optimistic cells in his father’s scrotum, but there you go.
Enough rambling about Facebook, if nothing else it lets me get my blog posts to a wider audience.
What a lot of good birds there are around Quebec for this time of year. Warblers that would normally be well away by now, are being found at the Recreo Park, Ste-Catherine. Orange-crowned is perhaps quite understandable but there is Nashville too, are they just indicators of how mild it is at the moment or something else, you wonder. Not that much further south than us, in the Toronto area, my friend Claude is seeing even more species including Tennessee, Northern Parula and there is a Black-and-White in the area. They are not seeing Yellow-throated Warbler though, we have two of those hanging on for the CBC.
I dropped into the pits today, just to top up the feeding spot and have yet another scan for a Northern Shrike (nope). There was a steady amount of feeding activity as birds came, got flushed by cars and then came back again. Best of the bunch were seven American Tree Sparrows, below is a shot of one that came out better than expected. If you are visiting the area, I feed just opposite the gates on the left side of the road – feel free to contribute. It would be nice if the city could put feeders in the Base de Plein Air like other municipalities do, I’ll suggest it, then brace for further disappointment. Below a shot of my low-tech feeding station.