Tuesday 5 April 2016

The RSPB Member's Weekend pt 2 - David Lindo!

Sunday 3rd April

I am never comfortable when I meet one of my 'heroes'. I remember failing to say thank you to Sir Peter Scott way back in the early 1980s. He came into the Miller's Bridge hide at Martin Mere with Dr Janet Kear. I desperately wanted to say thank you to him for answering my schoolboy letter sent when I was around 10 years old. My shyness was maybe a little due to my attire. Birding in a bright lime green floral shirt with shocking Bermuda shorts; well I'll leave it to your vivid imagination. 
That return letter was so special.
So it was today when David Lindo, the Urban Birder passed my table. No one has done more to promote Urban Birding than David and his philosophy inspires thousands. Birds are everywhere no matter what the location. Just look up!
At Christmas I asked for the two autobiographies of the solo rower, Roz Savage. I was incredibly disappointed with the first and the second has gone to a charity shop unread.
David's though I found unputdownable. 

I hope he will forgive my copying from his website but he puts it so much better than I ever could:-

I’m David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder. I’m a broadcaster, writer, naturalist, photographer, public speaker, tour leader and oh, I have been known to do the odd bit of birding!
Born and raised in London, I love anything nature, but for as long as I can remember birds have been my particular obsession. When I was three I went missing during a family party and caused my mum great panic. The police were called and a search party dispatched and I was eventually found standing outside a graveyard watching some Magpies.
I never switch off when it comes to urban birding, I’m forever on the lookout. If you saw me strolling down a street you’d think I was in Manhattan for the first time, gazing up in wonderment. The sky is my canvas and it’s amazing what you can see when you look up; birds of prey, swirling swifts, migrating thrushes, raucous crows. It’s a beautiful world up there.
My main passion is for urban birds and I spend my time doing as much as I can to promote the appreciation and conservation of the birds that share our city lives. I now travel the world encouraging citizens and organisations to step outside wherever they may be to enjoy urban birding. Through my TV appearances, writing, talks and tours I try to inspire people to re-look at their urban environments. I believe wildlife in urban areas is so easy to engage with. All we have to do is open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds and soon we will be linked into the nature around us.

A few urban birding tips to get you started:
See your urban environment as how a bird would: The buildings are cliffs and any green areas are an oasis for nesting, resting and feeding.
Don’t stress about learning the names and songs of all the birds you encounter, just enjoy them.
Learn at your own pace.

You don’t have to wear green anoraks; you can look cool and fashionable, I find the birds prefer it too.
Get your friends involved.
Find a local patch to regularly visit.
Think that anything can turn up anywhere at anytime.
That still works for me to this day.
Don’t go out expecting to see anything. That way you’ll never be disappointed but most likely be surprised.
My message is simple – #Look up!
I saw someone I thought was he on Saturday but failed to say hello. That innate shyness with 'celebrities' again. Today I managed to ask him over to say thanks for being such an inspiration. The hug received was bear-like and appreciated.
Now someone equally as inspiring came to sit with me by default. A lady needed a chair and a table upon which to write her thoughts on the weekend comment sheet. And so i met the lady i spent most of the rest of the day with, 93 year young Mary from Stevenage.
Mary immediately told me how she loved cycling and only stopped at the tender age of 89 because she was worried about how to get off safely.

Together Mary and I, arm in arm went to see David Lindo's talk. Brilliant and I won't give anything away except to say i hope you like Long-eared owls; that is if you are lucky enough to go to one of his presentations.
Next to the final presentation, a final mobilise the troops collection of films and talks, the first of which was by two incredible young people from Northern Ireland. 

First Matthew Scott, tall and lucid told of his many RSPB volunteer experiences. It was like a list of my favourite reserves. The Orlagh McLoughlin showed the cutest photograph of a determined toddler eager to love nature before describing her way into the nature loving, conservation world. She is about to have some children's books published and I promise to say when they are available. I will be first in line to buy them. Two superb, strong and eloquent young advocates for Nature. I even heard from Seamus,an RSPB staff member from Northern Ireland that the politicians at Stormont are nervous of meeting them.
Preceeding this had been a powerful short film on the creation of the new and immense reserve at Wallasea Island. Amazing.
Next was some fun with not only news of the very large Sherwood Forest project but a Robin Hood ' Play Your Cards Right' quiz. Mary and I won a Robin Hood hat.
The CEO of Birdlife International gave a talk. What a fabulous organisation.
Finally Mike Clarke, the CEO of the RSPB wrapped things up with a speech that included the good news that RSPB membership is still rising. 
Mary and I went to lunch together. It was my crafty way of getting two helpings of apple crumble and custard. Well I had to take a small and a large portion for her to choose from to our table didn't I? Luckily she chose the small one for herself. I forced the large one down.

The weekend was over. Yet another demonstration of how much the RSPB is such a powerful force for Nature and is therefore working for all of us. The audience may have been made up of young in heart people but the people running the show were young and vibrant. Such caring, enthusiastic and up for fun, wonderful young people. None more so than Sarah Houghton. This was her first time at organising the event and she can hold her head high and know that it was a job extremely well done. 
Then it was pack up time and to the pub after all of the goodbyes and thanks. What happened next can be summed up by .....

6   6   6   6 

1 comment:

  1. Great to meet you at RSPB Members' Weekend...and Tangled beats Frozen, every time. Will watch your travels with interest. Ian (from the Rockhopper Hair team)


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