Wednesday, 8 February 2017


Following Monday's post about the Loch Ness Monster, I received quite a lot of feedback, most of it polite if, in a couple of cases, a little sceptical: that's fine! However, one or two comments left on here (for the 600+ daily visitors to read) have been of a different category altogether, verging on the libellous. Needless to say, the authors of these elect to remain anonymous: very brave!

Here's a typical one from last night:

Hi David, Please do not censor my comment or delete it. Can you honestly say that this is not another photoshop job? Many of your pictures (usually rare birds) have a distinctly different look to them. I don't understand if you are doing this as a joke or to troll people or are just very bored at home? It's not a nessie is it David? Let's stop the games.
Well of course the first point to be made is that I actually stated in my post that the image was one I had drawn for one of my books. I have never claimed here or anywhere else to have photographed the LNM, but when I wrote my second book, the editor suggested I generate an image with Paint Shop Pro to illustrate a point I was making.

Secondly, I would love to know which photos ('usually of rare birds') I'm supposed to have faked. On 99% of the occasions when my images were taken I was with two, three or more companions. In common with the vast majority of 'fun' photographers, I might occasionally use Irfanview and/or PSP to improve the look (but not the content) of an image. For example, here's a photo of a Blackbird I just took from my window: it's still nearly dark here, but the image can be improved a little by increasing the brightness and contrast, using edge preservation, salt and pepper filter and sharpening:

Of course, you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, so this was never going to be a good photo of a Blackbird. But supposing it had been a Blue Rock Thrush? I would contend it would be entirely legitimate to brighten and sharpen the image to improve its value as an I/d tool.

Thirdly: isn't it a little ingenuous for the anonymous writer of the above to ask that I not delete his/her comment? I can only assume they derive a little frisson of excitement from seeing their abuse on a popular wildlife blog...

You know, almost all the bird better-known bloggers have click-throughs, sponsorship and adverts on their sites: I have none of these. Birds of the Heath is quite simply an account of what I get up to on a daily basis. I try not to fill it with trivia about my family / pets / political beliefs and I can honestly say I never use the blog to make personal attacks on other people or their records. If the writer of the above comment would like to e-mail or phone me (contact details on any of my websites) perhaps we could discuss the matter.
Those that know me know that I have had a colourful and full life: I really was an officer in the Navy, I really have played in a number of successful folk and rock bands, I really am the UK's only full-time meteorite dealer, I really have been lucky enough to have met and spent time with numbers of historical and media personalities, I really have written dozens of magazine articles and books and I really have seen well over 400 species of bird in the UK and photographed 342 of them. I don't need to bolster a tiny ego by attacking people or making spurious claims. (As an example: I've been to Mautby four times without seeing the Iceland Gull: I've only seen the Hooded Crow once. Why would I persevere if I could just generate 'another photoshop job' ?)
OK: sorry about this somewhat lengthy ripost to the handful of insulting and spiteful comments that Monday's post engendered: I hope regular readers will understand why I felt the need to say something...


Johnny Prochera said...

David - I enjoy your local sightings! Don't let a few idiots ruin the fun you have with your blog.

Have a good Spring's birding.

David said...

Thanks Johnny: that's really kind of you.
Have a great Spring's birding too!

chris said...

Same David keep it going. Hope to catch you in the field again soon. Me and Kev will soon be popping up to strump again after work. Some recent photo's on his and mine Twitter sites. Kevin Minney and chrisbales4. Take care mate Chris

David said...

Hi Chris!
Being a very old person, I don't have a Twitter account! I do look at the Twitter Norfolk Birds section, though, so maybe I can search from there!
Still got a few tests etc before I get the all clear to resume my regular walks, but let's hope we can meet up at the Fen soon - I'm getting stir crazy!