Tuesday, 7 February 2023

The Old Vicarage

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I am no fan of winter. It's like a mini-death. 

The garden moth list is on five with Twenty-plume Moth in the house. I put the trap out a couple of times this year and totally blanked. The only moths I've had have been in the house or near the house lights. I missed an evening last week when mild conditions produced the best night of the year for local moth-ers and now the night temperatures have plummeted again. 

Been doing more Garden Birding aka Ultra-low Carbon Birding (the only thing that Carbon zealots should be doing if you follow their logic). Yesterday's garden Ebird list Here. Highlights recently have included a Peregrine, the usual Buzzard on patrol from the Spruce, a few winter thrushes and up to five Coal Tits around. Most of my birding last year was in the garden (137  checklists out of  a year's 307 checklists were garden entries and I didn't do a checklist every time I did garden birding either)  I ended up on 81 species and managed to map out a good estimate of the breeding bird population and get some seasonal trends. Bar charts for 2022 here . All time garden list is now on 95 Here.

The only good thing about winter is the time it provides for non-field work and we have made good progress this winter especially with the mini-zoo. Now on 84 species of 'pets' (includes all species within totally controlled environments including tank plants and live foods) so slowly getting to our 100 target.

I'm also supposed to be writing reports and papers too but it's increasingly difficult to find the motivation when there's digital platforms and resources that can produce similar results. The benefit of that is that it makes more time for field work , diversification and private work. The WEF said recently that not only do any of us have a job for life anymore, nor a life where we might have five careers but the future will be where we all have five jobs at the same time. I can relate to that, not in a enslaving World Domination way but in a liberating way. I started off just Birding and it was a life's work- learning identification from books, doing field work and reporting and paper writing etc. Now with the help of the global hive mind and platforms it's possible to get several natural history plates all spinning at the same time and to a reasonable standard (enough for a citizen scientist to contribute valuable data and records). Replacing reports with Ebird bar charts, papers with blog posts and digitising past records, papers and reports basically saves enormous amounts of time and integrates everything into a searchable 'platform of platforms' making it possible for individuals to diversify and concentrate more on assembling systems. In that way all of us will have the opportunity to create our own tailor made worlds around us (or become enslaved in the dark WEF's matrix).   

Like millions of other minions I've been playing around with ChatGPT. Apparently according to 'Dave'- our collective global AI consciousness-  a Caspian Gull can be identified by it's deep wing beats, an Azores Gull by its 'kaw kaw kaw' call, Beddington Farmlands is an SSSI  and I am a leading wildlife artist of my generation, so it's clearly full of bolloxs at the moment. The fact that this AI app can be used to write passable scientific papers shows how little originality there is in professional academia. Most of academia is mass duplication, confusion parading as profundity and the application of complex methodology on abstract and irrelevant matters so its easy for an AI to duplicate wishy washy duplication. Some are heralding the imminent collapse of Professional Academia (which will presumably have to adjust by embracing Citizen Science to a much greater and fundamental level). Indeed every now and then professional ornithology comes up with something not only useful but fundamentally important- like Ebird or Xeno Canto which have both emerged from Academic institutions but the reason Birding evolved in the first place was to democratise and liberate ornithology from the choke hold of endless repetition and restraints (by available funding and the political agendas behind that funding)  of Professional Academia. I think we have a long way to go before ChatGPT can answer birding questions as Birding is as close to pure unadulterated science as you get and is constantly evolving and cutting edge- an edge that cannot be detected at scale by computers whose algorithms work on popularity metrics as have to search through the abyss of academic drivel and mass generalisations. An interesting development in all this is how birding is now being re-integrated into the 'sweeet spot' of Academia (through e.g. Ebird but also many other citizen science collabs)- the innovative and more purely motived part of it. For me this re-integration of pure science from the professional and citizen science sector is the red thread that will shape the future. AI will expose the rest for the obsolete 'junk code' it is and will almost certainly call into question (rioting question maybe) the whole Student Loan and University Industry.    

Anyway back to the Old Vic and the benign world of hermit garden and home living.

Coal Tit
Red Scooter Blenny (above and below). We have finally got our marine nano reef tank cycled and have the first fish in it. We had an almost instant tank crash and two Clown Fish died as nitrate levels shot up to deadly levels but have hopefully sorted that now. Certainly not easy getting the marine tank environment right and the smaller the experiment the greater risks. 

Nassirius Snail- part of our marine clean up crew including Hermits and Turbo snails
Panther Chameleon 

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