This morning I decided to spend a couple of hours at Coate Water. First was a look at the flood water field just to check if it was still dry. It was. Plenty of Swallows here, busily upping their fat reserves for the long journey south. I then headed to the second hide. BIG MISTAKE. I think birding in the middle of Tesco would have been more pleasant as the hide was full of photographers hoping to get yet more photos of the Kingfishers. After listening to fifteen minutes of loud continuous conversations about double glazing, asbestos, football and cable tv I decided to give it up as a bad job. Also the fact that there were at least three large lenses sticking out of the hide could not have helped encourage birds to the area. Maybe they were intended as more spots for the Kingfisher to land. To be fair birds were mentioned at least twice in this time, once when a Grebe caught a fish. Trouble was it was inconsiderate enough to do it out of range of a decent picture so was then ignored. Would any these people have noticed a Black Tern amongst the dozen or more Commons? To be honest they would only have noticed the Oriana sail by if it had passed between the hide and the last stick the Kingfisher had perched on! Next for me was a stop at the first hide. There were only four people here which was a little better until one of them decided it was a good time to walk out in front of the hide to replenish the feeders. Really!! Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that the hides here and elsewhere are for all to use and enjoy. Also I know many of these people and they are all great folk (and many improvements have been made to the hides at their own expense). However it would be nice if people would remember some of the basic rules of Hide Etiquette the main one being;
Keep quiet: No matter how cheery you may be in real life, it must be emphasized that the inside of the hide is another world. This is no place for conversation even if it does start to rain and the viewing area happens to be as devoid of birds as the dark side of the moon.
Obviously no-one expects total silence but please consider other people, especially if you are one of those who spends hours there. Many others have limited time and will be upset if there visit is spoilt. Check this subject out on the web, there are many many discussions about it.