Birdwatching can be an extremely enjoyable and satisfying pursuit, particularly suited to pensioners who like sitting in trees or urinating in gorse bushes on marshes.
There are now hundreds of reserves up and down the country, where with a little patience, you are virtually guaranteed to see a warden dressed in a green wax coat who will explain why all the birds you’d hoped to see had migrated the day before you arrived.
Many former gravel pits have been flooded to form lakes, with specially constructed hides on their shores – and from these, you can often see trees, squirrels, clouds, shopping trolleys and abandoned plimsolls.
River and harbour cruises enable you to enjoy an intimate view of gulls, dinghies with names such as ‘Sea Sore’, gulls, small children being sick and gulls, while for the more intrepid, climbing the sheer face of a remote rock stack to view guillemots may well be the last thing they do.
In all circumstances, ordinary birdwatchers should avoid twitchers like the plague, but if cornered by a group of these strange obsessives, the best course of action is to say you’ve just seen a gusseted phalarope in a nearby field and you should be back in splendid isolation within seconds.