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TOPIC: The changing nature of birding tours

The changing nature of birding tours 3 weeks 5 days ago #1576

  • Ian Wilson
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For those of us who occasionally take a bird tour this article makes for interesting reading. To see the article click here Birding Tours
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The changing nature of birding tours 3 weeks 4 days ago #1582

  • Andrew Browne
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Yes, I saw this article on The Birding-Aus- Digest.

It highlights that if you are interested in mainly bird photography ,you must ensure the tour caters for photographers rather than list tickers.

From my experience with birding tours over the past five years I have two pertinent comments:
1. In some instances, esp if one is staying independently in a location after the tour, and you're not in a pure photography group and with the guides permission, it's easier to just use binoculars when on the tour then revisit with your camera post the tour when you have no time restraints or multiple others vying for position.
2. Many (read >90%) tour guides rely on call playback. They seem to think because they're relying on tours to earn a living that they have an exemption for this ethical consideration. This can compromise your ethics and definitely preclude publishing your images obtained on the tour from being submitted to BLP galleries. Perhaps at sometime in the future Birdlife Australia may publish a list of "ethical" tour guides???
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Cheers AB

The changing nature of birding tours 3 weeks 4 days ago #1587

  • Ian Wilson
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Thanks Andrew for your thoughtful observations on the potential for conflict between 'list tickers' and bird photographers. Jill and I have been on quite a few birding tours in various parts of the world and have noticed that many birders now take along a camera, usually a cropped sensor body and zoom lens suitable for general purpose wildlife photography. This shared interest with other tour group participants helps to make a happy group but conflict is still possible. Rockjumper Birding Tours, based in South Africa but ranging widely around the world, are preparing to offer bird photography tours separate from their specialist birding tours. This looks similar to what Tropical Birding is offering and to my mind is a welcome development.

Regarding the use of call playback, I see little prospect that BirdLife Australia will do anything apart from issuing guidelines for the use of call playback because most of the leaders of our birding community are already compromised. They usually argue that because they are well-known and highly experienced birders that they are the best judges of when and where to use call playback. These people firmly believe they are exceptional and should be exempt from a no call-back policy. A member of the BirdLife Australia board recently suggested that the BirdLife Photography ethics policy was too tough and discouraged some photographers from joining BLP.

Cheers, Ian
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