COVID-19 Lockdown

Martin Sage
Martin Sage
Total Posts:  360
Joined  07-12-2015
18 January 2021 08:00

I am respecting the lockdown but as a reserve manager for SWT and a WeBS volunteer for NE, I feel comfortable with carrying out surveys that are scheduled by the BTO in my locality. I can walk to Westhay Moor, Westhay Heath, Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall. Both organisations guidance is that volunteering is permitted in your own locality. I do sympathise with those who are unable to justify travelling to do any birding and I have not been near the coast since December.

Graham Hall
Graham Hall
Total Posts:  13
Joined  28-08-2016
10 January 2021 11:32

In response to David Chislett: It all gets a bit murky here… If you are bird watching for leisure this could be classed as recreation (with or without bins), if you are just looking at a bird that happens to fly by this is a bit different. Don’t feel you can’t enjoy nature whilst walking as it is good for your ‘health and well being’... If you are doing a Webs survey, who knows what bracket that would fall into… (voluntary work for a registered charity maybe)... If you are walking the banks of the Sheppey taking pictures of kingfishers and you sell your pictures, i.e., as a secondary source of income, this would fall into the realms of ‘self-employed work’ that could not reasonably be done from home. Equally you could voluntarily ‘give’ the image and rights of publication to a registered charity or indeed a business or corporation for ‘educational’ reasons… If you’ve got cold feet, and lets face it, ‘tis a bit nippy out there, and it’s making the whole experience a tad miserable, clearly it would not be for either ‘recreation’ or ‘leisure’ purposes.

So don’t walk around with a smile on your face. Don’t take a ‘picnic’ or a flask with you. Don’t stand still longer that needed to catch your breath… But do take a Pegley Davis telescopic fishing rod and bait with you at all times. (The bait can’t be bread or sweetcorn as some ‘jobs worth’ will try and argue it’s a picnic), a pocket full of slugs and worms should be OK though, I’ve had some nice Chub on slugs over the years). I look forward to you posting a shot of a kingfisher sitting on a rod tip soon Dave.

David Chislett
David Chislett
Total Posts:  34
Joined  29-03-2016
09 January 2021 19:55

Following Rob Grimmonds message I would like to add my commernts for what they are worth!

The restrictions also state you cannot leave your home for recreation or leisure purposes.

I live on the Somerset Levels and am able to exercise by walking the local droves and could probably justify a walk to Westhay Moor SWT reserve as its only about a mile from my home.
But if I was carrying my camera and had a pair of binoculars round my neck presumably I could be accused of being out for recreational purposes.

Also following a government u-turn(yet another) fishing is now allowed during lockdown.  So it would be quite alright for me to spend all day sat beside the River Sheppey with a fishing rod trying to catch chub, but if I was to sit in the same spot with a camera trying to photograph kingfishers I could end up with a £200 fine!

When I go out for a walk to exercise it would be nice to be able to take my camera and bins but I dont feel I am able to do so.

As a side note - I along with a number of the local bird photographers post our bird pictures on Flickr. The low number of posts since Lockdown 3 started seems to indicate that not a lot of bird photographers are out on the Levels at present.

Take care everyone and hope to see you soon - with or without a camera.