Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Senior moment

At the weekend there was a Senior Times fair (for over 50's) at the Raddisson hotel in Galway. Having previously helped out on the Birdwatch Ireland stand at the Dublin Senior Times fair, Jamie, suitably impressed, asked me along to help BWI with the Galway fair.
Jamie knows that standing indoors for a weekend is not high on my list of favourite things to do, especially given the weather we've been having, but he also knows I'll give time to BWI as a cause I care about (now, where's my halo while I give it a little polish)...
So off I drove, 200km across the country to stand at a table, trying to encourage people to see the worth in all the work BWI does and hopefully encourage them to give money to help BWI out financially. I'm not good at asking people to part with money, having not much of it myself, I'm way happier just chatting, but along with Tom, Jamie and Sam, I think we managed a total of 22 new members which was good going, especially seeing as the Galway fair wasn't a quarter as busy as the Dublin Senior Times show.
'How do you get rid of crows'...asked a lot of people...
'You can't, they're intelligent and they have as much right to be here as you'.
'How do you get rid of Magpies'...
ho,ho,ho, 'You can't, they're intelligent and have as much right....'
There were obviously also (mostly) some really lovely people with a genuine interest in birds and the work BWI tries to do and these people were happy to become new members - and Jamie was happy to see them signing up.
Tom Cuffe, who was also volunteering for BWI, had made the front page of the Connacht Tribune with a great piece on how, having been made redundant, he is now doing Birdguide tours around Galway and going into schools to educate them about Ireland's birds. It was a really good piece about him and really nice to meet him - you can read the article here. and his website is in my list of links on the righ there>>>>.
But Tom wasn't the only one to get into the papers at the weekend.
Not to be outdone, Jamie was also quoted in The Sunday Times for his opinions expressed on the BWI facebook page against the practice some birders use of playing pre recorded male bird sounds to bring other male birds out into the open (making it easier for birders to see or photograph).
This practice can be an acceptable thing to do outside of breeding time, but in nesting season it's wasting the bird's valuable energy stores unnecessarily and strikes me as a pretty selfish thing to do simply for your own gain, so it was good that the Sunday Times picked up on it. Hopefully birders might restrain themselves for a few months of the year.
Sunday came to an end and after another 200 km drive, I was back in Dublin, having not stepped outside once during the day but still having a full on birding weekend. Thanks to Jamie, Tom, Sam and all the interesting people we were chatting to for making the weekend enjoyable.

Jamie Durrant and Tom Cuffe

Jamie writing out the details of the newest BWI member. Tom looking dodgy.

Jamie giving his BWI talk at the Senior Times show, Galway.

Tough crowd