A DIFFERENT SORT OF WEEKEND!!!
Eighteen willing ‘victims’ descended upon Kuala Selangor Nature Park for what was to prove a weekend of a very different sort!
The first task was ‘FOOD’, so concentration would be at a premium. The classroom session began with Bird Topography. I found it quite a shock to have to discuss the Supercilium and Greater coverts instead of what I would previously have referred to as the ‘bit over the eye’ and the ‘wings’, but after a while it seemed quite normal.
More classroom sessions included Songs and Calls that are made by various birds and how to use different techniques to remember them. Once again, having thought this would never sink in, I was surprised to find that during a field practical I could remember some of them.
Up at six for breakfast, YES-SIX! I thought I would never get through the day...
A great morning and lots of help from all. During the fieldwork, Rafi kept up a running commentary on every bird along the way - I have never seen such an enthusiastic person.
I don’t know why, but it seemed as though there were more birds in the park than usual. Was this something to do with Andrew (Head of Parks), or were our eyes and ears more in tune because of the company we were keeping?
Classroom discussions followed and it soon became clear why we had to be so methodical in note-taking - what you thought you saw was easy to forget if all details had not been noted down.
Then followed lunch, more theory, and fieldwork with scopes. Then dinner and more classroom sessions where people who were not artists or mimics put their skills (?) to the test! This made everyone laugh and did actually teach us how field sketches and notes should be made. By this time the whole day had become an enjoyable blur and all went off to bed with myself dreaming of “Three cheers for one more bottle.”
Up again at the crack of dawn and off with different trainers. An unusual bird was observed by at least five people, but the bird was not in any guide, so what was it? David, who knows all birds, was perplexed.
We finally took our leave, except Margaret, who stayed behind in order to, I am sure, check out the mystery bird.
All in all, a truly fantastic experience and a great weekend that Helen (my wife) and I would not have missed for the world.
I think I speak for the whole group when I say we owe a great deal of thanks to the trainers –Bing, Nina, Julia, Veiven, David, Angela, Rafi and Andrew for all their time, effort and giving up their weekend. The help that I personally was given will be remembered and used to my advantage in future, and I hope the same applies for the rest of the group.
I cannot put into such a few words what I would like to say, except thanks to everyone and … THREE CHEERS FOR US!!!
Vincent Marsland 27th November 2006