My name is Charlie Moores and I’m co-owner and blogger at 10,000 Birds, one of the most widely-visited bird blogs on the internet. I last saw a Sociable Lapwing (two of them actually) in March 2005. Let me explain why I’m so excited to be a part of this fantastic BirdLife project.
For the past two decades I’ve worked for an airline, travelling from London all around the world (or ‘being paid to go birdwatching as long as I served tea and coffee as well’ as I tended to see it). I’ve blogged for the last six of those twenty years, particularly about the global decline in bird populations and about the destruction of habitats from grasslands in Kenya to vast tidal-flats in South Korea. I’m proud to say that I’ve built up an audience who are interested in what I say about birds and their conservation, despite my not being a scientist or a researcher. Readers come (they tell me) because like them I’m an ordinary birder who cares very deeply about birds, about the landscapes they live in, and about the world we are shaping and will be leaving our children.
As I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to see two Sociable Lapwings in 2005. I was on an airline ‘birding day trip’, and they were wintering on the Dubai Pivot Fields (and given the support Swarovski Optik has put into the species’ conservation a happy coincidence is that I was using a borrowed pair of Swarovski binoculars at the time). Beautiful birds they looked warily at us as we kept a sensible distance (harder to do than that phrase ‘kept a sensible distance’ suggests when you’ve got two highly-desirable birds standing in a very small field surrounded by desert). I wrote on my blog that night that I wondered whether I’d ever see another one given how very rare they were. So far I haven’t, but five years later that seems unimportant. What matters to me now is that Sociable Lapwings are still ‘out there’ somewhere, nesting on the Kazakh steppes, migrating up and down the flyways they use, or wintering in regions this project will uncover as the transmitter data is collected. I want to help them still be there – wherever there is – fifty, a hundred, a thousand years from now.
‘The Amazing Journey’ project is innovative and exciting. It’s also coincided with my own migration from airline employee to freelance writer and photographer. What an outlet for my passion, my experiences, my love of birds, my almost obsessional need to communicate! I hope that as the project develops I’ll discover new elements that I can contribute as well. No, I won’t be doing field monitoring, fitting transmitters, or working directly with the birds, but I’m sure I can help out in other ways. I can’t wait to find out what those ways will be.
So, I’m a birder, writer, and photographer and I have a young daughter who I want at the very least to have the opportunity to see Sociable Lapwings when she’s older – and I’m ready to do whatever I can to promote this project. In a very real sense it’s not just the Lapwings that will be going on an amazing journey over the next few years…