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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tricks of the trade: 1. A photographer’s questionable method

Tricks of the trade: 1. A photographer’s questionable method

At Punggol Park in late September 2006, some enthusiastic but misguided person has interfered with the nesting of a sunbird in order to get his or her perfect shot.

The nest was attached to a bulrush reed (Typha sp.) that was growing by the water’s edge. The photographer, obviously troubled by the constant swaying of the reed and nest, solved the problem by tying the stem where the nest was attached to the surrounding plants.

It was possible that the reed where the nest was attached was subsequently cut and firmly secured to a bunch of other reeds, again to ensure that there was minimum swaying of the nest with every breeze.

The nest was then still active as a female sunbird was seen flying back and forth from the nest. There must have been eggs inside, or else chicks.

A week later the nest appeared 'loosened' and abandoned.

The bottom portion of the nest was damaged, possibly by predators - whether two-legged or four legged cannot be established. The nest contents were probably gone. Now can we blame the birds for building their nest by the water’s edge where people are constantly moving around? Do we blame the guilty person for such unethical method to get perfect shots of the nesting birds?

One happy photographer has obtained his/her perfect shots. But one nesting effort has gone to waste. Pity!



At 8:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is now an ever increasing army of photographers, not necessarily nature lovers, out in the field photographing birds. No one can guarantee that all will abide by the code of conduct when out in the wilds. There has to be concrete and visible steps taken to see that nature and its inhabitants are not disturb or unduly stressed in such situations. Good example is Avian Watch Asia. I know for one that when they hear wind of a good sighting, an army, literally army, can descend upon the poor bird. It does not take a genius to guess whether the bird will be disturbed or not! Good example was the recent Ruddy Kingfisher sighting at the Chinese Gardens. The kingfisher changed its name to Wobbly Kingfisher in no time and left Singapore in protest! Perhaps the NSS can do something about such matters?

At 10:07 am, Blogger YC said...

You will be surprised to know that many people are not aware that what they are doing is wrong. By highlighting such questionable practices, we hope to make them aware of what not to do.

Please send in images if you come across such questionable practices.

At 4:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard stories that some people KNOWINGLY stress the lapwings and terns, shooting the birds at point blank during the annual breeding period. All for a one-up and accolade that they are GOOD in their craft. If only birds can talk.

At 5:53 pm, Blogger YC said...

Yes, they do it knowingly but may not be aware that what they are doing is wrong! Whether the following are urban myths or truth, I cannot confirm... That one photographer removerd chicks from the nest and stuck them together along a branch with super glue for a good shot. And flashing a chick (?) still in the nest in the evening or night until it was blinded and dropped from the nest... And yes, we need public education.

At 9:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well there are also other so called nature photography clubs or society who practices double standards too. So who's right or wrong ?

It could be a work of non-photographer ?

What has NSS got to do with in control of nature photography ? Is NSS or NParks given rights to chase away photographers ? Is it against the law to take a camera and long lens into a park ?

Lets not brood over such matters and enjoy the little nature left within Singapore. Did anyone complain when they tore down the forests to make way for golf clubs or condominiums ? Please !

At 10:14 pm, Blogger YC said...

Let us not point fingers. But let us be aware that such questionable practices do occur. There is nothing wrong enjoying nature, either observing or photographing. But leave nature alone for others after you to also enjoy.

For the records NSS did protest in 1992 when PUB wanted to clear 124 ha mature forest at Lower Peirce Reservoir for a 18-hole golf course. And we succeeded in persuading the government to leave the trees alone.

At 9:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no offense but i think its a case of pots calling the kettle black. There are many within NSS and PSS who are just as guilty of all the above crimes. As to the true harm it does, it is questionable at best. In the UK, each time a rare bird is sighted, for example the little bittern in winter, hoards of photographers/twitchers gather to camp out for days at end to see it. Does it harm the bird? Don't think so, it still comes back year after year. I think its easy to associate a bird leaving an area with the crowd that recently gathered but its not always linked u know......

At 10:05 am, Blogger YC said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong in gathering and photographing, etc. The recent Ruddy Kingfisher incident is a case in point. The crowd was disciplined, or so I was told. However, practices like interfering with nests and birds are another matter. Yes, those responsible may be from any organisation and it is unfair to point fingers. Each organisation needs to educate its members to be responsible...

At 10:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.
"But leave nature alone for others after you to also enjoy."

Using live baits; trespassing private property; setting up artificial perch; removing obstructive branches; using tape recording excessively; disrespectful to the rights of others ... A wa!

At 2:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My reply is in response to anonymous #1. Correct me if I am wrong. The Ruddy KF is a passage migrant that normally stops over Singapore for a short period of time and move on to somewhere further south to winter. So please do not blame photogs for chasing it away.

At 4:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Questions for anonymous #1:

1. Do you take photographs of birds?
2. Do you consume poultry?

At 9:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me friend, a reg jogger saw a group of photographers shooting nest at pond side few months ago. Reg park visitors might saw who is the bad guy.

At 12:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We wish this Punggol sunbird shooter all the luck, he/she does not get recognized. However, for the other commenters:

At 2:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous #1,

As a moderator of Avian Watch Asia (AWA), I have wanted to draft a mail in response to the accusations and bias statements made by you. Then I thought, do I need to be bothered with individuals who wish to remain anonymous in a public domain? I mean there is a serious creditability issue here when a person who supposed to know what is right and wrong, made some comments about others for doing the wrong things and chose to remain anonymous???

AWA was established to create an environment for anyone interested in birds (regardless of race or religion or if they are newbies, birders, bird photographers, digiscopers or nature lovers) to come together and share their thoughts, knowledge and images on birds. It was meant to be free of "politics" and hierarchy structure such that members would feel at ease to share or learn together. Period.

If you have unpleasant remarks to make about AWA and its members, I would suggest that you provide concrete evident to support your claims. Be proud of who you are, stand by (or defend) what you have said by revealing yourselves. Hiding behind the computer and remain anonymous are not going to help in solving anything. All of us are reasonable individuals. If we make mistakes, we learn from them and moved on. We are forever grateful to constructive comments.

But if you really need to make bias and unfair statements, why quote AWA only. Many of us are members of other web based nature forums as well. Why not quote their names too?

Foo Sai Khoon
Moderator, Avian Watch Asia

PS: I will only revert to your comments if you reveal who you are.

At 8:15 am, Blogger YC said...

I have just viewed a video of those 'chasing' the Ruddy Kingfisher courtesy of Melinda Chan who was there on Sunday 29th October 2006. Yes, the crowd was very disciplined and it does not appear that the bird was unduly harassed.

We can make arrangements for Anon #1 to view the video clips to satisfy himself/herself if needed.

I think the objectives of the post have been met. Let us move on...

At 8:50 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous #1

I can vouch for the crowd of photogs on 29th morning is well behaved. RuddyKF is in no way stress as it perch for a long time, posing for everybody.

Well, if you miss the chance to see Ruddy, you are welcome to see my video clips of this bird. Contact YC.

Happy birding to you.

At 6:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous #1

Why so silent? I would really appreciate if you could spare a moment to answer the 2 questions I put to you. I would like to understand your mindset. Come on! Be brave enough to engage and defend your conviction, if not, you will only be a miserable coward, hiding and lurking behind the safety of your computer to take pot shots at us. To me your action is no better than a terrorist. I invite you over to the chatterbox thread of AWA to engage us. Be assured that the army of AWA does not consists of terrorists (to birds & humans). So please come over and let us debate.

At 8:20 am, Blogger wengchun said...

almost all web-based forums and nature societies have their code of conducts when on field. members need to remind each other of the rules. Also everyone should get some advice from the local folks / guides about a particular bird.

At 8:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

people,why digress from the real topic? the other forum has and is always a hotbed for argument. there won't be finger pointing whatever if members adhere strictly to the code of conduct.

At 5:00 pm, Blogger wengchun said...

I have taken many photographers around KL for bird watching as well as bird photography (including those from AWA)and I find them posing no threats to the birds.

I think if everyone gets to go out there together more often, everyone will gets to share more knowledge, experience and thoughts.

At 3:12 pm, Blogger YC said...



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