Your family feature on birdwatching (Echo, August 22) was welcome, but in some respects old-fashioned and unlikely to appeal to a younger generation.
The top item of “kit” is not a notebook. It’s probably 30 years since I used one and younger people are not going to do so.
Most people carry a phone that includes a voice recorder and a camera – much better tools than a notebook for recording your observations, and less susceptible to weather problems.
If you are not sure what bird you are seeing, try describing everything you can see into a voice file – you can do that without taking your eyes off the bird (unlike a notebook). The act of detailed description will lead you to see more, and to remember more, especially when you play back the recording at home.
You can record the sound of any birds calling or singing, and they can be identified later by a more experienced bird-watcher.
Once you know your “seagull from your swallow”, as the article put it, you may need help distinguishing between some very similar species. The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) has a very helpful series of Bird id videos at http://www.bto.org/about-birds/bird-id and you can find many other resources online, including on the RSPB website.
You don’t have to keep records to enjoy watching birds, but there are some good reasons for doing so. The first is for your own interest and pleasure – looking back on what you saw when and where, noticing trends over the years.
The second reason is to contribute to our knowledge of what’s happening to our wildlife. Conservation organisations want your records!
The easiest way to capture your bird records is to use a smartphone or tablet app like the BTO’s BirdTrack, from the BTO. BirdTrack is free and will save your records securely “in the cloud” where they are available for analysis by the BTO – and you can see the results as well as querying your own records at any time. There are also many apps and websites allowing you to display pictures and play the sounds of birds in the field, without needing to have your field guide with you.
Local organisations that can help you enjoy your bird-watching and answer your questions include Glamorgan Bird Club and Cardiff RSPB Group.
Bendy buses plague street
I’M writing in to express my concerns about the bendy buses and certain 55-seater coaches driving up and down Heol Pennar in Caerau, Cardiff.
I’m a resident with five children from the ages of three and upwards, plus there are other neighbours in the street that have young children in the same age bracket.
It’s only a narrow small street – so small that you can’t even get two buses side by side it’s that narrow.
I have been sat on my doorstep before, when I have seen many of the bendy buses mount the pavement outside of my garden, also when I confront the driver of the bus that’s come onto the pavement they just laugh and drive on.
I think it’s absolutely disgusting that they don’t care about the children that play on the pavements.
I will be putting a petition together to have either railings put up or speed ramps in the street. I’ve got to do something before someone gets hurt or worse.
Our thanks to Tan’s generosity
ON Thursday, August 15, Ely Garden Villagers along with 49 other charity registered groups were invited to Cardiff City.
Everyone had an amazing time, we were treated to free drinks and an amazing meal followed by dessert.
The event was called “Thanks a Million” and City owner Vincent Tan had invited 50 charity groups along and donated a million pounds which was shared out to all 50 charities that were invited.
EGVs would like to say a special thank-you to Mr Tan for choosing EGVs as one of the 50 charities – his kind donation to our group was very much appreciated.
The money will help our football teams in lots of ways and will be spent wisely. A big thank-you to all the Cardiff City players who gave me their autograph and allowed pictures to be taken on the day.
Vincent Tan gave a wonderful speech, the best part of which was when he mentioned how proud he is to have many players from different countries all playing for Cardiff City.
Ely is a very large community with many different cultures and I am also proud that we have many players from many countries playing for my mini/junior Cardiff Hibs FC.
Ely is a lovely place to live, with so many voluntary groups giving up their free time to make a difference to our community.
Vincent Tan, you are one in a million and all our coaches, mums, dads and all our football players want to say a big thank-you and wish Cardiff City all the best this season. Our football players and coaches will be attending the games to cheer Cardiff City on.
Secretary of Ely Garden Villagers and Cardiff Hibernian FC mini/juniors, Ely, Cardiff
Life on the beat with ex-copper
CORRESPONDENT Dave Pritchard’s memories of life as a policeman (You Say, August 22) prompt me to write of my memories of working with retired officers.
In the 1950s I was working in the City Treasurer’s department and we employed a number of retired police officers for various tasks.
Each day a car would take me and one of these “retirees” – an ex-CID sergeant – to deposit all the previous day’s “takings” in the then Nation Provincial Bank in St Mary Street.
We would leave the money with the cashier, and pass the time by strolling around the nearby streets for a while.
One such stroll took us along the lane which bisects the churchyard behind St John’s.
At the Central Market end there would always be a blind man, dark glasses, playing a clarinet, with his cap on the floor for “contributions”.
As we approached this man one day, my escort whispered “Walk on a bit, Norm.” I did, and the next thing I knew was the previously mellifluous tones of the clarinet turning into a wild shriek.
I turned around to see the blind man hopping up and down on one leg, in apparent mortal agony.
When I asked what had happened my escort (retired CID, remember) told me: “I just kicked his ankle, that ****** is no more blind than you or me, I know him of old.”
Do readers recall the fuss and legal actions about the book Lady Chatterley’s Lover?
Well, one day when things were a bit dull in the office, the same colleague produced the very copy which had been produced in court in a prosecution against some Cardiff bookseller who had dared to have the book on his shelves.
Certain pages had been marked in blue (appropriate colour perhaps) for M’lud’s particular attention. No prizes for guessing the content of these pages (or what M’lud actually thought…).
Spare thought for residents
AS other Cardiff residents enjoy their summer break Cathays residents have, as usual, had to suffer a summer influx of builders as landlords try to complete works before the start of the university term.
When there are up to 30 properties in a street being worked on this brings almost unbearable noise, dirt and parking problems.
We have seen 17 or more builders vans parked in just half a street and this is in an area that already has terrible parking problems.
Another issue is the hours that some of the builders work in an attempt to meet their deadlines – which has even forced some residents from their homes. On this the rules are quite clear: noisy works shouldn’t take place outside of 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday, and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. There should be no noisy works on a Sunday. If builders are doing noisy work outside those times, please let us know and call the council noise team on 029 2087 1650.
Sarah Merry, Chris Weaver, Sam Knight