Unacceptable disturbance of Cested Buntings at Long Valley

Unacceptable disturbance of Cested Buntings at Long Valley

I spent 15 minutes at Long Valley this afternoon. In that time the Crested Buntings I had come to see were flushed four times in ten minutes by photographers marching up to the birds to get their photos.  I stress that each time the  birds were flushed a photographer was walking deliberately towards them, not creeping slowly forward.

This is completely unacceptable:

1. These were newly arrived migrants were most likely tired, hungry and trying to feed.
2. Many other photographers were also not able to get shots because of the rush to be first to get close to the bird.
3.My own enjoyment was spoiled by those who were thinking only getting their own shot

I am aware that there are many new photographers who may have little knowledge of birds, but at Long Valley this afternoon,it was not always newcomers who were leading the charge.

In such situations where there are many birders and photographers on-site, it is essential for someone to take charge and ensure that everyone has a chance to see and photograph the bird from a distance that does not cause disturbance to the bird.  

I think this is not impossible.  

Many of the photographers have agreed not to use flash when many are gathered to photograph night birds, and the self-policing works well. It must be possible to extend such good practice to other occasions when many people want to see a good bird.   The basic requirement is respect for the wellbeing of the bird and respect for others who also want to see and photograph birds. Sadly this was not on show at Long Valley today.

Mike Kilburn
Vice Chairman
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee