As you may know I brought that subject up in another thread where I posted a long detailed of my opinion. I'm very strongly against privaledged hides for photographers paying a premium and RSPB paid up members not able to gain access unless they pay a premium. It's been going on for quite awhile now. I've emailed the RSPB headquarters at the Lodge reserve with my strongly help opinions on Saturday and I do hope I receive a reply.
In reply to THOMO:
There is absolutely nothing whatsoever preventing anyone at all from paying the additional fee for access to such hides.
It has nothing to do with photography.
By all means discuss the merits of charging an additional fee for access to a specific hide, but don't make it about people with or without cameras
Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index
I can't remotely agree with banning photography in hides. It's not that the current hides are 'second rate' - it's that photographers get criticised if they stay in a hide for too long and also for the sudden 'machine gun' sounds of a whole lot of cameras going off if something rare appears. Why shouldn't they be able to have a hide to themselves, paid for by themselves, to get the stunning shots they are prepared to wait for hours for? Places like Rothiemurchus (favourite fishing spot of Loch Garten's EJ) charge upwards of £125 for permission to use their hides.
Our herring gulls are red listed birds. Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.
In reply to Whistling Joe:
Well if you want it that way, I don't think there should be a charge for use of premium rate hides, particularly by members of the RSPB. Non members that's a different question.
In reply to Clare:
What I really object to is the idea that photographers' hides should have a better view of the birds than the rest of us are allowed to see. I'd accept photographers' hides and birders' hides side by side in the same location, with photography forbidden in the birders' hide, and free of charge in the photographers' hides - let them sort out the problem of seat-hogging among themselves, with no impact on the birders next door.
It's one way of solving the problem (as some see it) of photographers staying in hides for hours. The professional photographers will charge for their best photos - I wouldn't pay to use one of these hides but then I can't call myself a photographer by a long, long way! I have visited enough RSPB reserves to know that I've yet to come across a poor hide and I'm very happy to use the free ones (especially the wonderful Island Mere Hide at Minsmere).
The report I read said that these hides were being trialled as a facility for exclusive use by photographers.
Charging for access to 'premium' facilities begs all sorts of other questions for other topics.
In reply to Alastair D:
First of all, as has been stated, it's being trialled from what I gather. Therefore, I don't see any major issue with it as it's a trial and if it goes no further, most members won't even know there ever was a trial.
Secondly, what evidence is there to say the trial hides are better, location wise or build wise, than all the other hides? I don't know the answer to this, but aren't they just different?
Thirdly, if people want to take cameras and pay entrance fee and hide fee, then they are paying for the use of a hide that isn't likely to be as crowded, and they are paying for less disturbance to them. It is also taking cameras & seat monopolisation away from other hides. Isn't that good in theory? Just because I have annual membership (which frankly doesn't cost a lot so I'm not expecting the earth in return), I don't think I should have access to everything the RSPB owns. As members, we don't have access to large areas of reserves, yet those paying for guided walks do. What is the difference?
Membership fees cover all sorts. They aren't costed to cover absolutely everything.
That's what I read as well. What I definitely begrudge is some people being given privileged access for an expensive premium and a closer view of the wildlife. While the average member of the RSPB who has spent a lot of money on becoming a member of the RSPB(and been quite willing to do so because it's in a good cause for protecting birds and other wildlife)and then finding that some individuals are getting a better closer up view of birds and other wildlife, than the member who might only have a distant view of the same wildlife.
They may be targeted at photographers, due to the design or location (the Old Moor one is buried in the ground to get you down to the bird's level), but are not restricted to them. The report I read (by Matthew, back in March) certainly does NOT say they are exclusively for photographers.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654