[CT Birds] Birder Arrest

lpflynn at optonline.net lpflynn at optonline.net
Sat Jan 9 11:55:20 EST 2010

In reply to Alex's post of a birders arrest in Massachusetts.I was involved in a very disturbing incident at Sherwood Island State Park a few years ago.
It was a weekday, early June, I was in the model airplane parking lot scanning thru the hundreds of geese in the grass circle past the entry gate. At some point a woman walks thru my binoculars view.
I thought absolutely nothing of it, as these sort of things can happen often when birding in parks.
About a half hour goes by when an ENCON police cruiser pulls up to me and asked me what I was doing? My reply of course was "I'm looking for birds"
You have been accused of "stalking a woman in the park!" were the next words from the officer.With a sick, nauseating feeling developing in my stomach at this point, I chuckled and told the officer that he can't be serious, he assured me he was.
Standing next to my van, I pointed out my spotting scope (more incriminating evidence) then my Sibleys, then some field notes, he still was not impressed, then I thought, my camera, and proceeded to show him the mornings shots, all of birds... not people.
The officer finally saw things my way and decided to drop the case then and there, we spoke more and joked around for a few moments, then he left.
I was totally devastated by this accusation, and wanted to throw my bins, scope, camera and guides into Long Island Sound! I did not so much as even look at a bird for the next several weeks.
Over time I picked up my bins, scope, camera and guides again, but today this memory is still vivid every time I look though my bins in a public area, or anywhere for that matter.
I doubt the memory will ever leave, but what has left is the innocence of being one with nature, at least not in a public park.
While doing the CBC this past Sunday, I was cringing at bit as we were in the car,looking at feeders in peoples yards, glad Frank was driving as I never would have stopped.
Anyway, it's something to keep in mind when you holding magnification in you hands, other people may not see it your way.
I hope this never happens again, to anyone not just me.
Larry Flynn

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