I suppose some things, some decisions, are personal, intimate even. My decision to end over 40 years involvement in bird ringing (banding if you live on the wrong side of the pond), came hard and was choking emotionally. You can’t have been involved in this side of bird science and not become engrossed, honoured and feel so privileged to be hands on with advancing our knowledge of birds. The experiences I had over the years made me feel good, part of a team, in a circle of friends with a common interest and purpose.
|After ringing 600 Greater Flamingo Chicks! Malaga Ringing Group|
In the past I enjoyed ringing and the contribution I had been able to make. At least that is how I felt prior to living in Spain, where my own limitations in learning a new language and partly by just being viewed with a certain amount of suspicion, led to a disenchantment of the scheme here for ringing and birding. It appears to me to be about personalities, highly political and not at all as I have known ringing or birding to be in my previous existence. So I end my long association with one of my passions and feel intolerably sad arriving at this decision.
|The old duffer passes on experience in the Alpine Swift study|
Some clouds have silver linings and this decision allows me more time to indulge in other aspects of my passion for wildlife. I can dedicate time to myself, not think in terms of the broader picture, but become a little selfish. Leaving the ringing scheme in Spain is a continuum of a deliberate detachment from the politics and closed circles of birding here and an effort to concentrate on my own enjoyment of nature. There are loose ends that I had wanted to finalise, like the further study of biometrics with Iberian Chiffchaff, cataloguing geographical races of Chiffchaff and also to investigate plumage details in juvenile Sylvia warblers in the complex of Spectacled, Dartford, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers. These things may still be possible if I accompany a friendly ringer/bander or 2!
|Children getting up close and feeling a juvenile Robin - Educational|
I will continue to be involved with projects outside of Spain and in contact with birders from other countries, whilst continuing with developing sustainable tourism both here and elsewhere. My work leading tours and also guiding tours means I can share my experience and passion, not just for birds, but wildlife in general; I can even further my involvement in this side of my work now I have more time! It’s like a clean sweep, brushing aside involvement with disingenuous people and focusing on more pleasant contacts with people I like and enjoy a change which feels like fresh air, I feel good!
|Extracting (very carefully) small passerines from a mist net|
So it’s goodbye yesterday and hello to today and my tomorrows!
|Sub Alpine Warbler|
|Maybe the last lecture by me on ringing/banding birds!|
|Sparrowhawk - 1st winter female.|
Wild Bird Wednesday