One of the joys of being 'based' on Portland is that it's so easy to keep up with the times. 'Really, how can that be true, stuck out on a rock down in Dorset', you might say? Well, in a general of course, it isn't. Twenty-first century 'urban lifestyle' does rather pass us by. However, when it comes to birding, no passing trend or 'piece of kit', ever fails to reach our attention.
Be it binos, books, scopes, tripods, pagers.. backpacks, sound recorders, hats, coats, boots and even thermal underwear, we get bombarded on an almost daily basis with (usually unsolicited) advice and impromptu demonstrations on all and every accessory imaginable, that has deemed to be, or in rare cases proven, invaluable to birders.
So, what's new now then?
Today's 'buzz word' is 'movies'.
The whole birding world it seems, has suddenly reached page 149 of the Canon 7D instruction book (or equivalent) and been reminded that their camera can take more than stills. Rumour has it that even birder photographers and not only bird photographers, may under the right circumstances, soon condescend to carry a tripod and give the movies a go.
I was treated to a première performance the other morning of HD videos of Snowy Owls, Painted Storks and Egyptian Plover. These were visually stunning 'mini documentaries', even when viewed on a laptop.
The only problem is that our particular cameras won't allow one to video through the viewfinder. You can only see what you're shooting on the rear preview screen. It's also nigh on impossible to follow, or autofocus a bird in flight. So we all need to get something else!
While the movies can't show properly much in the way of real movement until the everyday equipment improves, we'll content ourselves with series of superb definition, news reels of mainly perched species - just pecking, or scratching their bums.
Like mobiles and dvd sound devices though, and unlike much of the consumer-orientated c**p that comes in our direction, some form of mass market, birders' video device seems absolutely set as the next useful add-on.
I am currently attempting to post my first movie... watch this space!