Guest blog by Mark Solomons, Minsmere volunteer and resident

A recent study led by the University of Essex found birdwatching accountants to be the most boring people in Britain!

This is a bit unfair on both accountants and birdwatchers. Well, maybe not accountants.

Of course anyone who has little or no interest in either will be bored stiff by someone banging on about tax exemption or the difference between a Common and Arctic Tern but isn't this true of any pastime pursued with a passion?

Common tern (above) by Jon Evans and Arctic tern (below) by Ian Barthorpe - can you tell the difference?



I could listen for hours to the late, great, Shane Warne describe how he gets a ball to spin better than any other cricketer in history but, equally, there will be millions sent to sleep by a man describing in fine detail how he grips a ball with loose fingers and the number of rotations needed to get the ball to suddenly veer in a completely different direction.

And this is the point. Everything can be either interesting or boring whether it is gulls or golf, flora or folk dancing, snakes or steam engines.

To me, as a Minsmere resident, the wildlife is naturally fascinating, both literally and figuratively. But so are the watchers.

In particular, there is a hardcore of Minsmere regulars who I see almost daily turning up in the same cars, parking in the same spaces, sitting in the same hides and, quite often, observing the same birds.

Why do they do it when they must often see the same things every day? So I've asked them. Or at least some of them. And, unsurprisingly, there's no single answer.

For some it's the ornithological obsession with making lists. They turn up every day in a hope they see something they haven't seen before, braving the elements and writing down every new tick in their notebooks. If they're lucky they will be the first to spot a 'mega' and earn both praise and jealous looks from their compadres.

For others it is the chance to monitor numbers, behaviour, patterns and glean more information in their relentless, autodidactic pursuit of knowledge.

Black-headed gull

Then there are those who come to escape, to get out of the house, to break off from sitting in front of a computer writing blogs for the RSPB, to meet up with other, likeminded people who will not yawn as they describe their recent 500 mile round trip to see a Belted Kingfisher.

But the most common response from Minsmere regulars I speak to is less prosaic and the most life affirming. They love it here and cannot think of anywhere else they would rather be, come rain or shine. As one, almost permanent, fixture told me, why stay at home when you could be in Minsmere?

The view from East Hide - why would you want to be anywhere else

The birds on view may be the same as yesterday and the day before, or there may hardly be anything showing at all but there is the view, the fresh air, the reeds, the trees, the sea, the sounds and the tranquility.

And perhaps that is the beauty of Minsmere - that even if it seems there is nothing to see there is always something to see.

Anonymous