Saturday 19th September 2009
In the vain hope of getting to a respectable total of species seen in Warwickshire this year I visited Draycote Water again. I had hoped to see a Wood Sandpiper that had been reported but I quickly learned that the bird had not been seen since early morning. All the other waders had stayed though and I caught up with the Ruff that I missed yesterday. Down in Toft there was a posse of photographers near the shore line clearly indicating that the 'Pec' was 'showing well'.
I have mixed feelings about people who photograph birds, being one myself I can understand the pleasure and sense of satisfaction getting a good image can give but I can also understand the feelings of birdwatchers as some idiots creep ever nearer and eventually flush the bird. Bird photographers are not going to go away, they are a fact of modern birding and can contribute a great deal to birding in general in terms of helping identification and promoting interest in birds. But and its a big but they have to be aware of the birds needs and be aware of the needs of other people, but of course this could apply to anybody whether they've got a camera or not.
I've said before that anything which disturbs a birds normal behaviour pattern must be avoided. A wader on a muddy patch at Draycote water in September or October is there for a reason. It needs to break its journey South to desperately biuld up its energy levels in order to complete its migration. If it is forced to leave its favoured feeding area its chances of survival may be reduced.
There are other criteria birders /photographers need to bare in mind. Habitat, even bits of scrub should not be damaged in order to get a better view. On the first 2 counts I have no problem with the photographers I saw with the Pectoral Sand at Draycote. They approached and equally importantly left the bird with great care. The bird continued feeding quite normally and there was no apparent damage to the habitat. However, I do have a concern that the general public, seeing the photographers might follow their example and set up picnics or whatever on this part of the shore much favoured by waders. Despite being a large reservoir the areas suitable for feeding are relatively small and should be protected at all costs. Severn Trent seems blissfully unaware, fishermen and the general public need adequate guidance so it is up to local and visiting birders to set a good example.