Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 14 September 2014

'Annoying' twitcher.

Once again, I want to express my annoyance at a female North Norfolk-based twitcher who appears to complain about the presence of people enjoying the North Norfolk Coast unless they are twitchers.
I pride myself at not being a 'twitcher', but being a real birder who accepts anybody, whether they are birders or not, to our wonderful countryside.
This females 'Hot Birding' blogs most recent post once again decries the presence of "annoying dog owners and non birding/camera type people" to the North Norfolk Coast.  Who does she think she is complaining about people visiting the coast, these people have just as much right to visit and enjoy the coast, and any other part of that country for that matter, as does any birder or twitcher types.
Once again I say that people should be encouraged to visit our countryside as these people and possibly their children, may be the future custodians of our wildlife and landscape.
Some twitchers have brought the name of good birders and birding into question with their behaviour, such unwarranted behaviour has included trespassing, poor behaviour, and deliberate flushing of an exhausted bird in order to get their 'tick'.
I love birding on my Breckland patch and will share my knowledge and finds with anybody who listens and wants to learn, however, I have kept scarce and rare finds to just a few responsible friends.  Some may say I suppress my finds, I will respond by saying this is done for good reason. I highlight for example my Pied-billed Grebe I found at Thompson Water in 1999.  I know that irresponsible twitchers attempted to flush this bird from another site by throwing sticks at reeds in order to flush the bird.  More recently, I have found myself speaking to someone who trespassed to see Reeve's Pheasant, having warned him, he was seen again on a further occasion, once again trespassing.
This brings me back to my initial writing on this post and I end by saying that the North Norfolk Coast is not the sole domain of twtichers, after all, would these twitchers like to be described as annoying by the public when a rare bird turns up in a garden, Tesco's car park, or any other location in the public arena.


  1. Hear Hear, Paul. I thoroughly agree with you. I have seen some atrocious behaviour by some "Twitchers" and had a run in with a couple of them. Keep up the good work, always enjoy reading your blog.

  2. As a birdwatcher who takes his dogs with him I have fallen foul of these people. Yet it was not my dogs that lined up at Gun Hill recently to beat the bushes to see what was resting in them or my dogs that told other people that they could not use a public footpath in order not to disturb a Wryneck.

    We all share the countryside. My grandfather fought for the right to room the Derbyshire Moors and I will certainly continue to birdwatch along with my dogs, who are better trained than some twitchers.

    Keep up the good work and one day we might bump into each other in the Brecks. I'll be the one with the two dogs!

  3. Tend to agree. On my patch there is a cycle track that attracts loads of quad and motorists who don't just stick to their area but drive all over there place there are also lots of dog walkers and lots of dog poo! I tend to have a live and let live approach these people are enjoying their time and its a case of sharing a common space. Much easier to just accept they are there and they are not going to go away! the reality is the main group of people who disturb birds are birders themselves be it a rare Sibe, tired common migrant on resting Owl or raptor. Personally have nothing against them but photographers by the very nature of their craft will attempt to get closer rather than a birder with binoculars who is content to view from a distance. However some lines need to be drawn, dogs should be kept on leads where birds are nesting I.e Blakeney Point but to honest don't see what the problem is with dogs at the Freshes since there are no ground nesting birds on Friary Hills. Totally agree that birders simply because they are 'more in touch with nature' do not have some God given right to rule the lie of the land!

  4. Some great responses here and I thank you all for your contributions. I will look forward to meeting you in the Brecks at some point in the future, I also look forward to meeting the dogs....but be warned.....I will make a fuss of them.

  5. Paul, been busy with our nature reserve and the veg plots....
    only just read this post.
    Been to take a look at her blog....
    I don't think I've ever read quite such a me,me,me set of posts...
    to quote her "who the h*ll does she think she is!"
    You well know my view on twitchers...
    and TWITchers probably know less about the life and habits of the birds they tick, than do the photographers and dog walkers....
    she describes in detail getting near to the birds...
    which involves much trampling of vegetation...
    thus destroying cover and food for the animals in that area!
    a totally thoughtless and selfish young lass...
    pity... she looks quite attractive ;-).

  6. Hi Tim
    As always, great to get your post...thank you for this.
    In addition to the above, I have also read accounts of driving at speed to get to a bird....quite irresponsible behaviour with the potential of putting other road users at risk. The likelihood is that the bird will be in there anyway, if not, there will be other species to see I am sure.
    On the subject of TWITchers Tim, Lee Evans (twitcher type) passed me the other day at Burnham Overy Dunes, I gave him a brief account of what he wanted to know, all I got was a grunt before he moved on...not even a "thank you". I remember some years ago a channel 4 programme called "Twitchers", he was talking on there about having wrecked cars getting to 'twitches'...wholly irresponsible behaviour. So glad I am not a TWITcher...
    Once again Tim, always great to read your contributions..thank you.