• "MEET A MEMBER" #17 Joshua Bergmark

    Josh is another of our younger bird lovers who resides in NSW. Enthusiasm is a common trait with the younger birders and Josh is bucket loads of it! Experience is generally something that comes with age but the new breed of birders on top of their game and Josh is up there with them.

    What is the first thing you think of in the morning?
    If it’s a normal day, I would think something along the lines of “I’ll just go back to sleep now”. If I’m about to go birding however, I quite easily give myself the pump of adrenaline needed to jump straight out of bed.

    How long have you been birding?
    Well, when I was 5 and was sitting on Santa’s lap, I asked (very specifically) for the 6th Edition of Simpson and Day’s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (much to the surprise of Santa, who apparently went up to my parents afterwards and told them how refreshing it was to have a child ask for something useful)! So essentially, I’ve been looking at and identifying birds for my whole life. My young-spongy 5-year-old-brain quickly soaked up the field guide, so birds have become something like an extension of the alphabet.

    Then, on a trip around inland NSW in early 2009, I saw a pair of Malle Ringnecks drinking in a puddle. I then got the bright idea to pick up a pencil, and put a little “tick” next to the ringneck in my trusty (and still well-loved) S&D. From there, the twitching disease completely took hold of me.

    Can you explain what birding means to you?
    While many people do say that “twitchers are evil, they have no soul, blah blah blah”, I do refer to myself as a twitcher if someone asks, however it’s not like I purely tick new birds and move on. I find the challenges associated with this fantastic, and seeing or observing something you’ve never seen before is my definition of fun. To me, birding is about enjoying the world – how many Aussies can say they’ve seen the remote wilderness of south-west Tasmania, the blooming inland of the Channel Country, the clear turquoise of Roebuck Bay, all teeming with birds and other wildlife? Birds are what I love most about our planet, but I always take time to admire everything, from the smallest of insects to the largest of mountains surrounding me.

    If you had to choose to take only your binos or camera with you on an outing, which would you choose?
    Binoculars. No discussion needed As I said above, I love to enjoy the world first, then take photos later.

    How often do you have time to get out into the field?
    Honestly, I’m really lucky to have a family that understands my weird obsession with birds. We have been on a number of wonderful trips, a few dedicated almost fully to birds. Now that I have my P’s, I no longer have to drag my parents around with me, so I have the ability to get out more often… unfortunately Year 12 just started… I have generally been getting at least one full day of birding in per. month.

    Do you have a favourite location that you keep going back to?
    Warriewood Wetlands. I love that place – pristine bushland in the middle of the Northern Beaches of Sydney, complete with sandy beach, waterfall, and birds. I saw a post on Facebook the other week from a friend, saying that they had “just discovered this beautiful waterfall in this place called Warriewood Wetlands”, and the following discussion consisted of at least 20 people saying that it looked beautiful from the photos and how they’d love to see it.
    I feel accomplished that I’ve been there over 20 times, and know many of its hidden secrets, things that “normal people” would miss.

    Have a dream destination where you would love to twitch?
    Too many! Max and I planning to spend schoolies month in Jan 2014 doing some hard-core, uninterrupted birding in Sabah, north-west Borneo. Hopefully one day I’ll get to Papua New Guinea, Ecuador and Madagascar, which are at the top of the list of places to go eventually.

    Do you a preference for birding in the morning or afternoon? If so why do you prefer this time of day?
    The morning – birds are more active, and you don’t need to rush. I hate the feeling when you haven’t seen what you are looking for and the light is starting to fade.

    Are you superstitious when it comes to birding?
    Extremely! I specifically believe in Sod’s Law of Birding (if you see the bird you are looking for, it will only be at the last possible moment, and when you do eventually see it, finding more is easy). For example, Scrubtit: Walked Mavista Trail on Bruny Island for 2 hours. I commented when we were about to reach the car and drive off that it would be typical if we saw one now. *Scrubtit flies across the track in front of my feet*.

    If you could choose any one person to spend a day birding with, who would that someone be?
    Hmmm… I normally love any company I can get, especially if it’s a fellow teenager (birding teens are few and far between), but I have to say Max and Ashwin are the two people who I have spent that most time birding with, and I always look forward to our group outings.

    Have you a favourite bird? If so what makes this bird so special?
    All of them? This is a difficult question – there are so many amazing birds. Luckily, there is a clear winner for me – the Blue Bird of Paradise (look it up on youtube if you haven’t heard of it before) – definitely a bird I hope to see one day! In fact, all the birds of paradise are amazing! In terms of birds I’ve seen myself, my favourite would have to be one of the 30 standouts I can think of off the top of my head, maybe Golden Bowerbird, Wallcreeper, Ground Parrot, NZ Rockwren, Lammergeier, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker or Okarito Brown Kiwi. I can't choose!

    What is it about birds in general that keeps you going back for more?
    That rush you get when you find a stunning bird after searching for it so hard – biologically, that hormone it is a type of drug, and I am obviously rather addicted to it. Even if that isn’t the case, birds (and all living things) are just amazing to observe. I will just as readily watch and enjoy the spectacle of at paramecium swimming around under a microscope at home as I will an endangered parrot sitting on a dead stick in the wilds of Tasmania.

    Will you hang-up the binos after you tick every Australian bird?
    Of course that’s a joke, I plan to be birding as long as humanely possible. Not just in Australia, but anywhere I can get flights to!

    Joshua atop a temple in Bagan

    Joshua and Max at Round Hill NR, 2011
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "MEET A MEMBER" #17 Joshua Bergmark started by Chris Martinez View original post