notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nesty Man

Timothy Treadwell this may not be, but in the UK the most dangerous creature is an angry wasp or a disgruntled badger, so we go with what we can get. Colin Watson ended up dieing interacting with nature the way he loved best, not cavorting with grizzly bears, but stealing bird's eggs from nests. Still, I believe there's a story here of obsession, devotion and eventual martyrdom, one that may well beat Treadwell's for "perversion of expertise and talent", if not grandeur.

Colin Watson was revered by British Bird experts as being one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it came to our feathered friends, and now his obsession has led to his death. From childhood Watson was obsessed with not just the birds themselves, but with their eggs and nests. Bought up in a time that saw nothing wrong with "blowing eggs" (sucking out the contents with a straw), Watson was marginalised by our expanding appreciation that such practises were destructive to the bird population, and he was fined numerous times after authorities found 2000 eggs in house which he shared with his disabled son.

This appears to me to be a very sad story; Watson was 63 when he died. He lost his grip as he climbed a 40 ft tree, fell to the floor, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Some may say he got what he deserved, but it does not seem that he did this out of a desire to earn money, but was fuelled by an obsessional neurosis that eventually led to him climbing his last tree. Graham Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), had this to say of Watson;

"This is a very tragic incident, but Colin Watson's misuse of his great knowledge was also a tragedy...He undoubtedly knew more about birds than many of our own people, but his egg collecting put the very species he hunted in danger. It was in the true sense of the word a perversion of expertise and talent."

I'd like to take this moment to dwell on the life of Watson, his existance as a power station worker illuminated by the hunt for and collection of birds eggs, his home over flowing with empty eggs that prevented generations of birds from taking to the skies, his ongoing battle with authorities, and perhaps a perpetual wrestling match between his actions and his conscience.

Be careful up them trees people, and keep a firm grip.

No laws preventing you from stealing these eagle's eggs, hurry hurry hurry!!

Source: The Guardian