The bird watcher

This weekend, while I was walking in the park with my dog, I ran into a guy taking pictures with a huge 600mm lens. Based upon the professional look of the equipment he was holding — and even more upon the fact that he was pointing his telescope at an apparently well-chosen spot in a tree top — I concluded that I was facing a full or semi-professional ornithologist who had spotted some rare species. When I posed him the possibly most obvious question that one can ask at such moment, “What are you targeting?,” the man’s reply was straightforward but also unexpected: “… Birds …

As I implicitly assumed that the bird watcher in the park was a seasoned expert, his word(s) sounded poor and disappointing. To be honest, I had anticipated to hear him disclose that an exotic bird had visited my home town, complemented by a myriad of details about the species, and why this was really such a special encounter. Would you get excited when a software designer reveals you that he’s writing “programs”, a Ferrari dealer tries to sell you “a car”, or a tech company exec announces a “machine that does ping”?

(photo courtesy of Mavani-Photography)

The guy in the park was either an over-equipped amateur, or a badly communicating subject matter expert. In my personal logic, none of these combinations makes good sense.

Post scriptum: about two minutes before I bumped into the (would-be?) ornithologist, I heard a very nearby rattle in the woods. And now I’m still wondering if I’ve missed a black, a green, or a spotted woodpecker…

If you’re rather a people watcher than a bird watcher, you may also read this unrelated post:

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