Thursday 16 January 2014

Welcome to the club

Joyous news reaches me that fellow birder and blogger David Bradnum has become a father, with a little help from Mrs B apparently. I first met David in the Findhorn Valley with his Dad some time in the late 20th century, scanning for eagles, and while I can't say he was in short trousers - too bloody cold as I recall - I'm guessing he was too young to have a driving licence at the time. As is the way for those of us given to the occasional twitch, I have been bumping into him ever since wherever rare birds turn up, memorably in Shugborough, Staffordshire, where a Belted Kingfisher paid an April Fool's Day visit in 2005 but had gone by the time we arrived the following morning.

Apart from the non-appearance of the bird, the occasion was memorable for the looks on the faces of the local publicans and restauranteurs who, on waking to find their village green surrounded by several hundred birders with nothing better to do than sup cream teas, prepared to open up early for a bumper brunch-time shift, only to find, when news broke that the bird had relocated to Yorkshire, that the whole lot had vanished before the first till could be rung. If ever the expression on the face of an entire community could have said 'WTF?', this was it.

But back to the here-and-now, and many congratulations to the new parents. Like all first-time fathers, David is now eligible for honorary life membership of the Dorset Dads' Bird Club. Member benefits include:
  • A substantial discount in the rate at which the number of new birds you see increases: on the upside you'll have more time at home to chart the progress on Bubo of young upstarts as they catch up with and then surpass your totals before you can say 'school run'.
  • An inversely proportional increase in opportunities to tick nocturnal lepidoptera: you'll be awake at midnight, 0200, 0400 and 0600 so might as well check the moth trap while you're up.
  • An unlimited supply of paranoid feelings that your newborn, immediate family and entire circle of non-birding friends will stop at nothing to prevent you going twitching: 'such a special time' blah blah, 'never get it back' blah blah. What-ever!
  • Free and unfettered access to a whole internet's worth of blogs and websites providing incontrovertible proof that everyone, yes everyone, is getting out in the field more than you are: console yourself with the thought that the partners of their authors are only keen to see the back of them so they can pursue sordid liaisons with a variety of passing tradesmen.
Then one day, in about 7 years time, you wake up, as I did recently, to find a mis-spelt, food-stained post-it note stuck to your wardrobe door bearing words to the effect of 'I love you Dad, you are the best Dad in the world'. And it'll all have been worth it. [Alternative ending for those whose gag reflex has kicked in at the cloying paternal sentimentality: 'Almost'.]

Budding birder and author of charming, mis-spelt and food-stained post-it notes.


  1. A variety of passing tradesman? No i'm fairly sure its just the organic veg box delivier. :-)

  2. That looks like a pair of Swarovisions. I don't even let the wife use mine, let alone one of the wee ones!

    1. Confession: they belong to my wife. Persuaded her she really needed them for our honeymoon in Costa Rica ages ago. But I do 'borrow' them quite a lot...