It has gradually become clear to me this last couple of years that modern bird watching has left me behind. There was a time that I kept up, I swapped my £10 RSPB binoculars for a better pair and then swapped again for some expensive Leica ones. I bought a posh Kowa scope and tripod and then bought a more expensive Opticron one, I was flying - if I couldn't identify every bird that I saw, I'd at least look the part as I staggered round under their weight. I'd been a member of the Kent Ornithological Society (KOS) since around 1959, which was a respectable stat. to quote some fifty years later, and I still go to the KOS AGM's but it's now clear that both the KOS and I have dropped into the old-fashioned category. Few members attend the KOS meetings, even fewer use it's Forum or Latest Sightings facility, it's creaking with old age just as I am.
It seems that the modern and youthful birdwatcher rarely attends meetings any more, it's doubtful that they even physically talk to each other that much, except of course when they herd together on a twitch. No, they tweet, facebook or page each other, technology has left the note book, pencil and us old codgers behind.
For some, even going out looking to find your own rare bird is old-fashioned - much better to sit dozing indoors with a pager on the arm of the chair. The pager beeps, makes you spill your wine, a rare bird is in bushes in your area, the location is given to the nearest bush, this is easy. Check your tick list, no, ain't got that one, grab your gear and off you rush. Join the mass crowd at the site, get seen by all the regulars and therefore acknowledged as one of the "top notch" in-crowd birders - just a matter then of trying to get the best photograph of the bird, even more recognition!
That's probably an unfair description of how most birders go about their bird watching but it's easy to come to that conclusion some times when you read some of their blogs. It's extraordinary the lengths that some of these twitchers will go to in order to get another bird on their list and what a pain in the arse that their behaviour can be while they're doing it.
So yes, bird watching, like life itself, has continued to evolve and this old curmudgeon at 68 has been left behind, unable to evolve with it - no facebook, no twitter, no pager, just my daily patch watching. I've always been an opinionated, anti-social old bastard, can't change now!