Peak District gamekeepers need a bird ID course

You know, if you’re going to profess that you’re interested in any bird life beyond those species your customers want to pay to shoot, your credibility will improve somewhat if you’re able to identify what you’re looking at. Otherwise it looks like you’re pretending.

It seems to happen a lot with the game-shooting industry, doesn’t it? (e.g. see here, here, here, here, here).

Here’s the latest one – a screengrab from the Peak District Moorland Group (basically a bunch of grouse moor gamekeepers) who posted this on social media earlier this evening using the hashtag #realspringwatch.

Good grief.

Seriously? This is basic stuff, it’s not even a rare vagrant. If they’re getting this wrong, what else are they mis-identifying?

I don’t think Chris Packham should fear for his job just yet, do you?

15 Responses to “Peak District gamekeepers need a bird ID course”

  1. 1 George M
    May 29, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    I’ve said for years that the skills of gamekeepers are confined to the demands of their jobs and, due to modern technology, are diluted year by year. Mobile phones, radio’s and land rover which negate much of the walking which broadened their knowledge of non target creatures… and dictate what most of the conversation is about.
    There are the odd few who are very knowledgeable in most areas, and when I say the odd few that’s exactly what I mean.
    It is startingly obvious if you encounter then on online chats — just the usual trotting out of the Laird’s views with very little otherwise.
    It’s time we saw them for what they are, and not for what some media and hunting sources try to make them.

  2. 3 Kevin moore
    May 29, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Oh dear. Real spring watch can’t tell the difference between a redstart and a stonechat and these people are the do called custodians of the countryside.

  3. May 29, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    These beasties are drawn to their lamps when they are night shooting….Burnett Moth?

  4. 5 Andrea G
    May 29, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    They also need a lesson in the correct use of apostrophes (or should that be apostrophe’s?).

  5. 6 boaby
    May 29, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Guardians of the countryside indeed…
    Hill bouncers more like

  6. 7 Stephen Brown
    May 29, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    No wonder the poor bird has a fed up expression!

  7. 8 kevinj
    May 29, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    That tweet seems to have mysteriously vanished.
    Never mind we have day 5 of real spring watch to look forward to. Maybe they can go for something more suited to their speciality like look at this legally set snare. Although on second thoughts that might be pushing it.

  8. May 30, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Dear oh dear. Shooting oneself in the foot so as to speak!

  9. 10 John Howard Morgan
    May 30, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Their Natural History education on a par with their English language education. Abysmal.

  10. 11 dave angel
    May 30, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I can understand how you might make that mistake based on a momentary glimpse in the field, but with a photograph? Scary.

    “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

    ― Epictetus

  11. 12 Michael Gill
    May 30, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    I just did a screen grab of the image on the left and put it through a google image search … google categorically said “common redstart” and gave me a link to this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_redstart
    I’ll bet that’s what the duffers at @realspringwatch did

  12. 13 Raymond John Clark
    May 30, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Just give it a rest Ruth,

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