Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

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charlie g
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Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

#1 Post by charlie g » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:42 am

Hello all, in a recent forum post a link lead to term: 'desmid twitching', for me this term: 'twitching' had only been used for: 'diatom twitching'!

I have not on internet found a definition and source ( ? etimology?) of this tender term: "twitching' regarding collections of a desired target group of organisms. I sense ( no reason for my hunch!) that: 'twitching is a UK coined term.

Please offer opinions and your understanding of this organically rich term: ' diatom twitching' I only recently encountered: 'desmid twitching'..are people adopting 'twitching' to desmid collecting...will I one day 'water bear twitch'?!!

Please offer insight to this charming term: 'twitching'...if possible...where/ when this term was coined? happy '20 springtime all. charlie guevara, finger lakes, US

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Re: Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

#2 Post by MichaelG. » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:23 am

I believe that the term originated as a gentle ridicule of those enthusiastic birdwatchers who must ‘spot’ all the rarities.


Edit: Here you go ... ... 86,00.html
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Re: Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

#3 Post by mrsonchus » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:56 am

Hi, as Michael says, 'twas a rather genteel term for a bird-watching enthusiast. A couple of decades back the term was as mentioned used to differentiate between two 'classes' of bird-watchers. (oh how we British love our classes...)
Those that consider themselves to be 'serious' (some may consider pseudointellectual? ;) ) are now termed 'birders' whilst those that have an aparrent emphasis on list-compilation of birds seen are termed rather unkindly I think, as 'twitchers'.

Perhaps someone somewhere has even coined the terms 'trainers' vs 'train spotters' or maybe just 'spotters'! :)

Personally the distinction seems an artificial one - at least in terms of usefulness - the advancing wave of nouns used as verbs may also be involved.

If someone enjoys what they do - good luck to them, but there'll always be another waitng to 'rain on their parade' - Human nature?

Goodness - my brain hurts - going for a lie-down, may do a little 'planting' later - or is that 'twitching'? :D
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Re: Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

#4 Post by photomicro » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:55 am

Non-UK based folk may especially be both informed and amused by this, which happened to be on Radio 3 last night !

(always assuming they can link to it)

charlie g
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Re: Please opine source, time term 'coined'...diatom twitching?

#5 Post by charlie g » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:58 pm

Thank you, thank, photo micro for fleshing out literally the 1950's organic source of: 'twitching'!!! BTW...often on winter nights when I enjoy our night face skies with telescope...well I recall twitching myself (when I err...change the water outdoors rather than disrupting my night adapted vision by going indoors to use the err...'big phone'.). Your link to UK radio #3 was a joy...I used to be able to enjoy your radio science fiction channel...then abruptly I could not establish the online feed.

Your link to channel#3 worked..yes, yes language is organic, twitchers vrs. birders...hummmm.

Thank you Mrsonchus and MichaelG for aptly directing my thoughts to origins, the source and gentle scorn for 'twitchers' vrs true citizen naturalists. I have strong cheer for Mrsonchus notion ( akin to microscopy world view notion that: the best microscope you have, is the microscope you use)...I cheer Mrsonchus notion of : however you get out to natural spaces, or to encounter denizens of natural spaces...bravo , bravo!

Eegads, I consider myself a microscopist with world views...but maybe I am a 'twitcher'?!!

Thank for this rich reply to my sincere querry...your posts carry a lot of natural history blended with citizen naturalists, blended with all our journeys , on this globe...happy Earth Day indeed.

charlie guevara, finger lakes, US