Friday, 25 September 2020

We are the World Blogfest # 41: Flock Together …

 

Covid strikes, businesses wonder if they can keep going, people are anxious … how to destress …

Ollie Olanipekun's green
woodpecker that inspired him

 

… one man was using nature, then started taking photos of birds and putting them onto his Instagram page … to his surprise one commenter identified each bird …

 




… communication started – they were of the same age (mid-twenties), both from London … then set out for a walk together … and not long after that “Flock Together” began …



 

"Flock Together" - c/o Zaineb Abelque
Ollie Olanipekun, heads up a creative agency … his new friend Nadeem Perera, a sports coach, had taken to birdwatching as a teenager to help himself through a turbulent teenage period …



 


The collective is a sharing ‘flock’ for people of colour … Perera is the bird specialist – always on hand to identify and add to knowledge about each species; Ollie encourages openness – where they share their thoughts on life and talk frankly about experiences … as he says:

 

Black people, in particular can be pretty bad at talking about their emotions … so the main thing I want to achieve is to support people of colour who have been going through such a rough time” …

 

It’s a cross section of creative-people … who can share, join in, generate ideas … or just find tranquillity – which being in natures gives you …


“You don’t have to be anything more than what you are” – quote by Nadeem Perera …

 

The collective has only been going since April and I hope they’ve had a happy summer … they are certainly helping many …

 


… with plans to visit schools and appropriate organisations … they will be expanding their reach … with trips out, always keeping the local walks going, while making sure there are no barriers to disadvantaged backgrounds.


That's a Blackcap ...  


They seem to be having fun and to have established firm, supportive friendships … which I think is just wonderful … going above and beyond for others … the word is spreading – other (people of colour) birding, walking or hiking groups are coming about …

 

Ollie and Nadeem enjoying themselves - as a 
promotional photo by Zaineb Abelque


… as they say in due time – no doubt their ‘open-air-bird-doors’ will spread … but for now they’re happy with their ‘Flock Together’ of gaggling humans.

 





This is a perfect example for a We are the World post … helping people ease out of the Covid darkness and gather mental strength ready for the light release (that surely has to come) in 2021 …

 

We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, Be Light

 



Flock Together: Urban Birdwatching in London - c/o Hype Beast - and I would like to acknowledge Zaineb Abelque's photos from the Hype Beast article ... thank you ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

36 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

What a brilliant idea. Thank you - and them.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh, Hilary, this is so uplifting - and brought a tear to my eye for the Joyfulness of this enterprise. Thank you for telling us about it. YAM xx

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As you may well imagine, Hilary, it makes my heart soar to hear of birds bringing together people in this way. It is a wonderful initiative and I hope that more such groups will spring up and use the common love of birds to develop social contacts and friendships. If ever any of these folks find themselves in southern Ontario, I would be happy to show them some birds here. Thanks for bringing us this story.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I'm sure they'll enjoy their new hobby and I hope they'll soon feel able to "spread their wings" and get out into the countryside too. They'll be very welcome to share a bird-hide with me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, good for them! They went from a hobby to helping people. Who knows what they will accomplish over time.

Hels said...

I was never particularly interested in birds, but when we moved to the current family home, I started paying attention to each bird call soon after dawn. Over the years, some bird song has become very familiar, even though I can't see the individual birds from bed. It must be their happiest time of day.

Joanne said...

Love this concept and goes to show how much good there is in this world. I want to flock together now. Nice!

Sandra Cox said...

How wonderful! And a green woodpecker. Who knew.
Take special care.

bookworm said...

Hilary, I suggest you google "Central Park birdwatching incident" or "Christian Cooper". Not sure news of this incident several months ago in New York City's Central Park reached your part of the world, but I immediately thought of what happened to Christian, an accomplished birder, when a woman called the police on him because he was black and "threatening". So now Mr. Cooper is using his fame for something good. I wish Flock Together: Urban Birdwatching in London the best. We need more of this. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Liz A. said...

I hope they find many interesting birds.

Janie Junebug said...

What a brilliant, therapeutic experience.

Love,
Janie

Botanist said...

With all the stresses the world is undergoing, mental wellness is more important than ever these days.

Susan Scott said...

So fabulous Hilary - our in nature and seeing birds and their flights and more can only be beneficial. Good luck to them in spreading their message- I hope their ideas have wings. Great #WATWB post��

Rhodesia said...

COVID has its good points as well and it seems a number of people are bird watching who have never done it before. Great post and so interesting to read about the Flock. Enjoy your weekend cheers Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – thank you … it’s got huge support …

@ Yam – it is uplifting isn’t it and yes one can ‘feel’ the help from the fresh air and interaction they’re getting – let alone the joyfulness from the enterprise …

@ David – I knew you’d love it … and now I’ve looked a little further – other chapters have grown out of this enterprise … it seems they have chapters in various places around the world: Cairo, Oslo, Minnesota and Toronto – so there’s a chapter relatively nearby already.

I haven’t been able to find an email … and as I don’t do FB or Instagram or Tweet … I’ve let the blog find the route … in fact I’ve now left a message … I’ll see what happens and be in touch via email. Delighted I touched your heart!!

@ John – they seem to be flourishing and have lots of contacts now … around the world … chapters in other parts of the world. I’ve reached out and will see what happens …

@ Alex – yes … a hobby, and some way they’d found to help themselves – they both seem to be inspiriting inspirational leaders … helping others in the meantime …

@ Hels – I think a lot of things come to people later in life – I’m in a similar state. I’ve been listening to the bird song so much since lock-down … but not having a garden at the moment – it’s more challenging … some are obvious: magpies, gulls, robins, blackbirds … others need time … I’m so happy to read you enjoy your happy bird time …

@ Joanne – yes it does, doesn’t it – show there is good in this world … and I love the “logo” ‘Flock Together’ …

@ Sandra – yes a great group of birding friends. Green woodpeckers are one of our shy woodland birds with a loud call – ‘that’ I haven’t heard. But I have seen them …

@ Alana – thank you … I’d spotted that incident in Central Park … but am just glad Flock Together: the Urban Birdwatching group seems to be thriving here. Good for Christian Cooper in NYC – and so pleased he’s so knowledgeable about birds in NYC – I had a friend who wrote a book about the birds in NYC decades ago … forgotten his name! I guess we have bird specialists in some of our parks too …

@ Liz – lots of birds to see in and around London, I’m pleased to say …

@ Janie – exactly … a very therapeutic experience for some …

@ Ian – mental wellness is so at the front of many people’s minds at the moment … we need people and we need nature – so this was a good find for me for #WATWB …

@ Susan – I so agree … that’s when I read about ‘Flock Together’ I knew it’d make the best #WATWB post for us to see. It seems their wings are spreading out locally and abroad … good for them.

@ Diane - it does ... people are getting out into their gardens - or like you wandering your French countryside, or showing us South African birds ... a few birding blogging friends amongst us ...

Many thanks to you all for visiting … Ollie and Nadeem’s enterprise seems to have garnered much encouragement here … I’ve reached out – if I have news … I’ll add it in – have good weekends – autumn is here! It’s chilly … all the best Hilary

Lisa said...

Oh what fun, and what a great way to have found each other. Thanks for sharing this Hilary. These guys are awesome!

Jacqui Murray said...

That is inspirational. Out in nature--a (relatively) safe COVID space. I love how they found each other. Thanks for sharing this uplifting story, Hilary.

Anabel Marsh said...

Brilliant example of the power of the internet to make connections in a good way. It’s not all bad{

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

When I think of birds lately I think Rainbow Lorikeet which are so pretty and bloody Butcher birds which attack me every time I come in & out of the house.

BWitzenhausen said...

Love it! One of the positive things to come out of this horror of a year, has been the fact that many people are finally finding time to pursue projects and passions especially outdoor activities and it's great to see friendships develop out of it too. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing and for being a part of #WATWB.

retirementreflections said...

What an uplifting post. How can one help but smile when reading this?!
Thank you for sharing this, Hilary.

Keith's Ramblings said...

I was listening to Tweet of the Day on Radio 4 as I read this! What a wonderful idea it is. Hopefully, it will spread its wings with groups starting nationwide. I'm so pleased you told us about it, Hilary.

bazza said...

There are very many things that can be of help in therapy. Walking groups and various sports activities work very well for all ages. Bird watching (which always involves a certain amount of walking anyway) is a great way to do it. I am a qualified counsellor and we used to have successful groups for men, who are usually less reluctant to talk about their feelings.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s inordinately impudent Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lisa – yes they do seem to be having lots of fun … and a great way to ‘make’ a group isn’t it … delighted you enjoyed finding out about them …

@ Jacqui – the group just made such an emotional jolt for me … and realised what an excellent group to come about … it’ll help so many and as you say is inspirational …

@ Anabel – yes it’s a great plus story for the internet isn’t it … definitely not all bad …

@ Jo-Anne – you have amazing birds in Australia – one day I’d love to see them … our sea gulls attack us …

@ Belinda – yes time has been a huge benefit for many during this Covid pandemic … and that taking of the extra time to pursue other interests … and as you point out develop friendships too. Delighted you enjoyed it ….

@ Donna – I agree … and looking at the two guys I was immediately attracted to their joie de vivre … and knowledge about their avian friends. Then their help for others …

@ Keith – isn’t it … I love tweet of the day – one day I’ll get to spend time learning the bird songs of the many we have.

It’s already spread its wings – there are chapters in Oslo, Minnesota, Toronto and Cairo – let alone locally in London – so they’re off and running and I’m sure lots of inspirational leaders will come forth from the various groups …

@ Bazza – yes therapy can come in many guises can’t it … especially when they incorporate the great outdoors.

Interesting to learn you’re a qualified counsellor … and help groups for men – must be so helpful … glad to know they’re happy to open up …

Thanks so much everyone – delighted ‘Flock Together’ has provoked such a positive response … take care all of you - Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

What a fabulous story - and a perfect #WATWB share. Winged friends, nature, and kindred spirits to hang out with. It's a perfect prescription for these times isn't it?

D.G. Kaye said...

What a fabulous initiative. Flock together is what we could all use about now. Lovely share Hilary. Stay safe! xx

Jz said...

How lovely to hear of such positive things coming out of the pandemic!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Wow, that's a really cool idea! I'm glad these people were able to use their talents and fun hobby to start a whole movement for the betterment of the world.

I am excited for the upcoming YA scavenger book hunt (YASH), and for the Pass or Pages query contest at Operation Awesome with the YA category this October. I hope you've been staying healthy and thriving as best as you can this year.

- J

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah – thanks … yes I really thought it was great to find out about … it is as you say a perfect prescription for these times isn’t it.

@ Debby – I just loved how they got together … and how they are developing other positive approaches and spreading their wings (pun not intended – but appropriate!) … and new chapters – one in your area of Toronto …

@ Jz – thanks … there are definite positives from some of these difficult times …

@ J – thanks for coming by.

All the best to you – hope you all have a great week - Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

What a remarkable story! All from a couple of Instagram posts. I sometimes think this whole pandemic situation has allowed us to look outside our own small box and assess our lives. At other times, I just panic a lot, but then I go back to climbing outside of my box.

mail4rosey said...

That gives all new meaning to birds of a feather, flock together, doesn't it? I think it is wonderful that this all came to be. :) Have a wonderful day!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa - yes that's what I thought ... serendipity even. I agree we are having time to think about life etc ... it's definitely not easy for most people. Well done for calming your panic-self ... take care and stay sane ...

@ Rosey - I know it's a wonderful story about flocking together ... and they're in the best place to carry on without worrying about Covid - even at only six in a group ... thank you - I usually have a wonderful day - being of the positive ilk.

Thanks to you both - delighted to see you ... all the best - Hilary

Liza said...

What a wonderful idea. Birds as a way of coming together...I love it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - good to see you ... I know it is a wonderful idea isn't it ... and they seem to be hugely enjoying themselves ... thanks for coming by - all the best - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, how wonderful! I should find them on Twitter, there are so many birds in our garden that I'm never quite of the names of...
Another birder I follow is Michael Flowers, up in Yorkshire: http://eybirdwatching.blogspot.com/

DMS said...

Sounds like a common interest really bonded these two and made them friends. :) Love it! Also- watching birds is one of my favorite pastimes.
~Jess