Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Is there birding life without a pager/found lists

  1. #1
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK

    Default Is there birding life without a pager/found lists

    On a previous thread, I posed a question what should we discuss next. Forktail replied with the following suggestions:-

    reverse migration / pseudo vagrancy?

    Why do east coast yanks always turn up in winter?

    the seawatching potential of early summer?

    the proliferation of birders' websites - is birding devolving back to the masses?

    is there life without a pager?

    The last one got me going, and I wonder what the feelings of others might be. Are you like me, in having had a pager and now without one? Have you always had one and still love having it? Have you added up your found list - UK or US? What's it like - good, bad, not bothered?

    Aaah, life without a pager.

    I had one once, but having given it up, I feel much more relaxed about my birding, without the constant feeling that I should chase things - mind you as I am out of the country when most of the good birds turn up, I don't get the chance. Many birders in Suffolk time their days off to coincide with me being away cos they know good birds will turn up just to .... me off!

    My found list has become the most important to me, and I keep no other. What it has done is to make me put myself at locations looking to find things for myself rather than rush around like a fool. Mind you, I am lucky to live on the east coast, where things are likely to turn up - I found the Lesser Yellowlegs at Southwold about a mile away from my house, but not as close as the Greater Yellowlegs I found a while back.....

    This kind of birding is so much more productive and satisfying. I envy those birders just starting out, the sense of wonder, with everything being new - getting a new pair of bins or new scope can give you the same feeling.

    The proliferation of bird information (like pagers) is a good thing, but simply looking for yourself is just as good or better. Try it you might like it....

    Brian S

  2. #2
    Senior Member forktail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian S View Post

    The proliferation of bird information (like pagers) is a good thing, but simply looking for yourself is just as good or better. Try it you might like it....

    Brian S
    spot on Brian

    We are fortunate though to live in a place where rare birds are expected. I do most of my birding now by bike or on foot, eschewing even the north norfolk coast in favour of finding on my own local patch, and I find living out here to be rather good for the soul. Knowing you have a chance of decent birds when the weather's right certainly makes you get out. It encourages you to study the weather more and make decisions about the best places to try etc.

    Finding Radde's, Greenish on a walk from your house is the stuff i dreamed of years ago... it's so good that for once I'm not going to be spending any part of the year looking for Asian specialities! Yes, that good!

    I do have a pager though... I'm more obsessed about missing a minor patch bird now than a Mega 20 miles away and my found list has become a priority. We have an informal grapevine out here that is really quite nice and a throwback to the 80s and earlier. Most decent stuff finds it's way to the pagers... eventually!
    Last edited by forktail; January 21st, 2008 at 05:09 PM.
    OBC John Peel Awesomeness
    The little things they make me so happy, all I want to do is live by the sea...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Galway city, Ireland


    Hi all,
    Well, we don't have pagers here in Ireland for rare bird news, but I still think I can answer this!
    Despite having been birding since the very early 90s, I only started twitching regularly in 1998, and, by and by, began to go for more and more birds, until I reached the stage where I almost expected to be one of the first on the scene for any potential tick, which was no mean feat given that I can't drive!
    Now, while I had some great times as a result, and got to see some exciting (and not so exciting!) birds as a result, I must admit that, in recent years, the undeniable thrill derived from this has waned slightly, partly due to my disillusionment with aspects of 'the scene', partly because of the growing realisation that my parallel interests in bird ID, finding my own birds, breeding survey work and, since last year, sporadic digiscoping weren't always best served by standing around in a field with 20-30 others, only a small few of whom would be actual friends or good acquaintances, looking at a ditch in the hope that we'd get a few seconds on a difficult skulker!
    Accordingly, I am currently trying to cut back on the twitching, though I'd like to think that I'll be able to calm down the 'mania' while still, say, being able to decide to go for a given bird that takes my fancy: not even attempted to go for the 'Cackling' Geese in Sligo, for example, despite this newly-split species being a potential lifer for me, but something really exciting and/or of ID interest may still tempt me to travel a fair distance. Until such birds are found, however, I've mostly been doing my own thing so far this year, which, given that it's winter, means looking at gulls mainly...nothing to match the 1st-w Caspian Gull that a friend and I found last year as yet gull-wise, but a flyover Glossy Ibis at Youghal dump was nice too...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Red-eyed Video's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Hi Harry & welcome.

    I still haven't caught up with Radde's (no thanks to Tim ) so that tells you a bit about my twitching habits although I've had a pager for quite a while. I have a love hate relationship with my pager; I love it when a mega comes through and I don't need it, I hate it when the messages come through thick and fast when I have work or family commitments which come first.

    I use mine in a fairly unorthodox way, that is I like to know what's about when I'm at my local patch or in the supermarket knowing that I'm not missing anything although I'm fairly laid-back these days. I remember being at Easington once pre-pager days and getting paranoid that I hadn't seen another birder for some time & had to drive down to Spurn Point just to make sure they weren't all watching something good. I've also been sea-watching at Cley post-pager days happy in the knowledge that I wasn't missing anything nearby.

    More recently I pulled into Grafham Water to have my lunch when a message came on the pager of a Gannet by the dam. O.K. not a bird you would pay to have a pager for but it made a dreary day somewhat more enjoyable.

    We have a good local grapevine network in Northants which works well but I still rely on pager reports for updates rather than 'phoning around to ask 'is it still there?'

    So, in a nutshell, I'd rather be with it than without it even if I'm not flying off everywhere each time it flashes (it's never on bleep by the way).

    Roll on spring!
    Dave J

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Algarve, Portugal


    I left the UK in 1997 when pagers were probably just about at their "height" and Rare Bird Alert was, to some, the best thing since sliced bread. I hated the darned things (I have, literally, thrown two guys out of a hide at Dungeness RSPB because of what I considered mis-use of pagers followed by them using their mobile phones to contact all their mates - I got a standing ovation from the other dozen or so people there).

    I did once toy with the idea of getting one but what eventually put me off this form of info distribution was watching the first programme in that series on BBC2 many years ago now (I still have it on tape) about "fanatics" - that first programme looked at twitching and was absolutely fabulous with Lee Evans, "Dipper" and many other top birders who I know or at least have met. It was the final sequence shot on Scilly (which I have never been to) with Dick Fillby et al on 2-way radios, pagers, etc. making absolute fools of themselves - I hasten to add that it was done in a light-hearted, tongue in cheek way, that did a lot to explain the twitcher mentality, and all the folk involved are great guys. BUT, I decided I did not want to be part of it.

    The biggest twitch I have ever been to was the first American Coot at Stodmarsh near Canterbury. I got the bird on the first day, as did about 2,000 others, but I actually went back twice more because it was such great entertainment (watching the twitchers, not the bird) - again, although I love Stodmarsh, this activity was not really for me.

    So, now I find myself in the Algarve, S Portugal where birding is a minority passtime. Compared to Spain it is very much underwatched, and I own a small farm within a conservation area (Ramsar site and Nature 2000 site) where I can "go birding on my doorstep" and where anything might turn up. My garden list (including anything positively flying over within my airspace) is close to 200 and includes Black-winged Kite, Osprey, Montagu's Harrier, Stone Curlew, Eagle Owl and many more "tasties"; my garden breeders include Quail, Woodchat Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow and Bee-eater.

    My most recent "big twitch" was last week - a 1st winter Glaucous Gull at Portimão fishing harbour; there were eight of us there.


Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 16th, 2011, 02:57 PM
  2. #birding mega Siberian Blue Robin Foula Shetland found dead
    By Cell Gallery in forum Britain and Ireland Rare Birds
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: October 4th, 2011, 03:47 AM
  3. Replies: 7
    Last Post: June 29th, 2010, 07:31 AM
  4. Rare Bird Alert (RBA) X3 pager review
    By Graham Etherington in forum Other Birding Gear/Technology
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: July 4th, 2009, 11:12 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: January 10th, 2009, 04:16 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts