Let me start by saying thanks to those of you who have posted comments on my piece regarding the hides at Coate. I was hoping for some reaction but have been surprised by the amount of views this has generated on the site. It will certainly be interesting the next time I show my face in the Hides. As I expected the comments I have had, both on and off of the blog have been split between photographers disagreeing with me and birders coming down on my side. This follows the trend on all of the bird forums I have looked at. The bottom line for me is that when I arrived at the Hide on Sunday I was in a good mood and was looking forward to some pleasant birdwatching. Half-an-hour later I was heading home feeling pretty annoyed. I guess that some of you are also annoyed at my blog. Obviously that isn’t right and it is down to all of us to make sure that anyone who goes to the Hides at Coate goes home happy. I now want to thank all of you (especially Graham and Tony) for your efforts in improving the Hides. The cushion, the feeders, the photographs etc are all fantastic. Graham mentioned in his comment that ninety or so permits have been issued this year, a massive increase on previous years. (Maybe SBC will invest a bit of that money back into the reserve) This is obviously a good thing but it has also caused problems. For those of us who have been regulars in the Hides for many years know, it was always a shock to find somebody else there when you arrived. Now it is hard to find a time that there is not someone in there. Even before six in the morning! Unfortunately, Hide 2 is not designed for a crowd and therefore we all need to be aware of the needs of others. On many occasions I have been set up for a long stay with all my bits and pieces spread around. Now it isn’t always possible to do that and it may be that you will need to move to give someone else a good view or a chance of that great Kingfisher photo. Of course a Hide shouldn’t silent but please keep the volume down and the conversation relevant. It really isn’t the place to discuss DIY and Sport. As Helen said in her comment, new visitors are made welcome and are given help and advice. This is great and long may it continue.
So an apology to anyone that I have upset on this subject, my piece was intended to provoke discussion ( in which it has succeeded) and to make us all consider the way we use the hides and our effect on others. Hopefully we can all work together to make the Coate experience even better than it already is.
And just one final thing to keep it spiced up. Please Photographers ( and I am one of those to some degree). Please turn the sound off on your cameras. The beeping and shutter clicking is the most annoying noise of all.