As someone who is interested in nature, winter is a great time, cold clear days make sure we keep a reasonable pace to our walking despite the best efforts of the wind to push us backwards at times! A lack of foliage make birds and other tree dwelling wildlife (can only think of squirrels!) a bit easier to see, though just as difficult to photograph in many cases. Hands hold on tightly to cameras and binoculars despite the complete lack of blood (and therefore warmth or feeling) in our fingers - or at least in mine, and feet either freeze through standing around churchyards or woods waiting for the Greater or Lesser or Spotted (or this year Parrot) Bird to appear, or they become caked in mud and other "stuff" as we walk around, covering the same ground several times in search of our quarry.
What is he going on about I can hear you asking yourself, and to be honest, I've forgotten why I started this!
As a "Twitter-er" I am privy to the thoughts of many people, some I know quite well, some I've never heard of, and most I am unlikely to recognise when (or if) I do meet them. But this winter there seems to me to be a noticeable "down-turn" in optimism and tolerance, from the person you know quite well to Donald J Trump (for example), the Twittersphere has become the mouthpiece for all views, especially the negative ones.
No end of "Tweeters" bemoaning the lack of Waxwings this year, or having a go at organisations whose sites haven't produced the expected bird on the day visited. I've sat in several hides for several hours this winter playing "host" to streams of visitors "popping in" and expecting - no demanding! - to see a Kingfisher because there's a perch there for it, or a Bittern because we're in the Bittern Hide. Some don't even sit down, just a cursory glance and they're gone back to their "generic fruit based device" (copyright TBT) to share their disgust with all and sundry, and seek support to shout at local organisations who maintain the useless place they've just visited! Well here's some news for those people - nature don't work like that, you go to a site, any site, with hope of seeing something of note, not with the expectation of seeing it, or at least you should approach it that way. Hope for the best, but expect the worst, and if you get the best then share it, if you get the worst then maybe that's your fault and NOT the RSPB or local wildlife trust for not ordering in what you want to see. If you fancy a beef burger, don't go to Nando's! (Yes, I did!)
Even when these nature based organisations work hard to provide the raw materials - habitat, hides, paths, cheese & ham toasties etc. they do so in hope of attracting a rare visitor more than in expectation, so cut them a bit of slack. I've always found that if you talk to those involved you are far more likely to succeed than if you shout at them and demand of them (cheese & ham toasties excepted!).
Because of my personal situation I think my outlook and attitude has changed, maybe mellowed, maybe, over the past year or two. I am more understanding of people and organisations, and the efforts they make to give us a decent facility, much of it done by volunteers in their free time - you want to moan, then sign up for a work party or two and help. Don't get me wrong, someone says "I'll do that", then I expect them to do it -and I expect them to demand the same of me, but shout at me and, well, I've got a whole cupboard-full of "shrift" and I'm happy to give anyone a short piece!
The only other thing I would say is to be respectful of each other, there are some very, very knowledgeable people out there who are more than happy to share their knowledge and their experience, if you ask in a reasonable manner, but there are also some who, to me, seem to be so far up their own backsides they that wouldn't give me (and people like me) the "drippings of their nose", as the saying goes! When you think about where some of those noses have been I'm quite pleased about that!
Some "Brucie" bonuses this winter,
Looking for Bittern but found Marsh Tit
Looking for Hawfinch but found Robin
Looking for Short Eared Owls but found Goldfinches
and Roe Deer
Looking for Bittern but found Ring Necked Parakeets
Just looking and found Great Crested Grebe