Time for pet peeve number 2....
Birders who judge other birders based on the price of their gear.
This one always leaves me confused. On one hand, I can understand that the more experienced a birder gets, there is a tendency to buy better, pricier, equipment. On the other hand, I know many expert birders still using the same binoculars they purchased 35 years ago and are still toting around a Golden Guide or Peterson they purchased about the same time.
Many times in the field I have come across another birder who looked at my chest first. I guess I know how women feel. After they determined the type of binoculars I owned, they engaged me in conversation. As my own gear has gotten better, the nature of my conversations has changed. People seem to assume you know a lot more based on the amount of money you’ve spent. I’ve experienced the same thing with scopes and especially cameras.
Making assumptions based on the price of the gear is risky. I’ve seen old timers with taped together gear and high schoolers with hand me downs who can bird circles around people with better stuff. On the same trip you can run into rich newbies with the latest and most expensive who think sparrows are baby robins.
Take the time to ask a question or two and you’ll learn a lot more.