Friday, 3 October 2014

Hipster birders flock to Scilly

The Isles of Scilly (or ‘Scilly’, as the cognoscenti knowingly refer to them) are this weekend bracing themselves for their usual annual invasion of keen birdspotters. But this year, there will be something different walking the lanes of St Agnes and gorging the scones of St Mary’s.

This year, Scilly is to be visited by hordes of the new wave of young birders, uber cool hipster types sporting ironic beards and getting down with the old-skool Scilly vibe. “It’s like, going to be happening,” said Tom Logan, a heavily bearded birder who lives in a loft near Brick Lane. “We’re going to totally rock the 1980s look.

“I’ve picked up a pair of Optolyth Alpin 10x40s, a Mirador Merlin scope, and a laughably heavy Slik tripod. Trudie, my girlfriend, has got me a Barbour jacket and some Hunter wellies, and I’ve sourced some original YOC badges to pin to my woolly hat. I'm trading my iPhone for something called a CB, though I'm not entirely sure if one of those is compatible with the Rare Bird Alert app. I’m going to sleep in the public toilets on my first night there, and after that I might try camping in an orange nylon tent with my mate Hedgehog”.

Hedgehog (or Mark, as his parents prefer to call him) added, “Everyone says Shetland’s where it’s happening. But that’s like, so lame. Scilly is the new Shetland these days. We’re breaking new ground here, scoring rares heavily, doing a pioneering kind of thing”.

Scilly’s handful of regulars appear perturbed by the imminent arrival of their young counterparts. Enid Felcher, a retired librarian from Reading who’s been visiting Scilly since 2009, said “I’m quite concerned. What are these ‘rares’ this young man speaks of, and how on earth does he expect to see them? Surely he doesn’t think he’s going to find them all by himself? Isn’t he coming here to see the locally distinctive and delightfully tame Song Thrushes?

“I shall be most upset if all these young men get rowdy and eat all the scones and crab sandwiches. I find their beards frightening too”.

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