Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Corvo FAQs

As I keep getting asked the same questions here is a quick Corvo FAQ. The fact that people ask these questions implies they lack basic understanding of what birding is so I've taken the time to spell a few things out. If you are a seasoned birder and read this and haven't worked this out for yourself yet I would suggest as a rule in life that you are better off following orders of someone you trust rather than expressing opinions of your own as it will be a good thing for you to accept that- you will be happier and less angry. 

1) Why don't birders just go to America to see American Birds?

They do. Personally I have seen very few lifers on Corvo, seen most of the species in America before. However if you want to see or find American birds within the Western Palearctic the Azores is the premium site. The same question applies to all twitching and rarity hunting, why do British birders go to Shetland or Scillies to see or find birds which you can easily see by travelling to Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Asia or America, in the case of Scilly also for about the quarter of the price, hundred times the birds and without having to throw up over the side of the Scillonian too. Why do birders get excited about seeing a Skua on an inland reservoir or a Pochard flying over their urban garden ? 

Of course the answer to these questions is relativity, context and perception. If you really want to go and see rare birds then go through the IUCN list of critically endangered species and go looking for them.  

If however you enjoy the concept of games, boards and pieces than there is added value in being a bit more fractal and less serious.  British birders/twitchers have drawn a line (depending on what game you are playing it's either the geographic unit of the British Isles including Ireland or the political boundaries of the United Kingdom which Nicola Sturgeon could well and truly fuck up) to create a playing field with the aim of attempting to see as many birds in that playing field. On this playing field, like a real life game of Pokeman, certain pieces are harder to find (rarities) and  have higher values/more points and they become desirable and then players (birders) compete to collect them or find them. Its a first world phenomenon. 

The Western Palearctic board is basically a bigger game and World Birding is the biggest game. Then of course there are smaller games like county birding and then smaller games like local patching and then the smallest game of all- garden birding. In all those games, the playing fields are different as are the pieces with different values in different games. A general way of measuring absolute value is the concept of 'Description Species' - within each recording area/playing field, there are generally referee-like organisations (rarities committees) which define the species within that area which are rare and assess those claims to assist in maintaining high standards of play/identification and to help regulate fraud (stringing) and error (stringing again).  From a bird finders point of view, description species are the tokens to collect i.e. county rarities and national rarities.  National rarities are perceived as having more value but it's not a perfect scoring system as a Lanceolated Warbler on Fair Isle is nowhere near a good a find as a Long-tailed Skua in Surrey. More elaborate scoring systems and leagues are also featured in some initiatives such as Local Patch Challenge.   

Like all games/sports there are also serious implications to these games, it provides people with purpose and focus, increases their mental and physical fitness,  data is collected for nature conservation purposes, it drives innovation and invention in birding technology, it creates economy, jobs and community and most important of all it's an alternative to the worst most boring game on the planet- collecting money and things. Collecting birds is so much more fun and doesn't generally involve child labour, sweat shops, suicide nets, enslaving the working classes, destroying the planet and serving billionaires and Satanic forces. 

So if you love Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, love travel, love different cultures, meeting foreign birding friends and of course love the birds of the Western Palearctic, then it's a great game and if your playing that game then Corvo and the Azores is the autumn hub (its like the Shetland or Scillies for Europe) and THE place to collect those American birds.     

2) ....but the Azores isn't part of the Western Palearctic, its part of America.

I haven't actually got the patience for this at the moment. Bare with me I will come back on this but in the meantime if you really hold this opinion- go and take a long look at yourself in the mirror first and ponder why you feel you should hold this opinion and ask yourself these questions

a) What the fuck do I know about biogeographical zones and how they are designated? 

b) Why have I got an opinion on something I have no knowledge of?

c) Why have I been convinced that democracy and freedom is a good thing for me?

d) Should I move to China, I could be happier living under Oppression and Dictatorship?


Gibster said...

Sublime. I knew something good would happen today and reading this post has been it, for me.

Peter Alfrey said...

Good to hear 🙂