Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Are You Having A Laugh?

There was no birding today in the very unfunny showers and windy conditions prevailing up here in the Grim North, but I have a little news to relay from Monday's truncated birding session at Pilling. 

Also, and if nothing else, the strange world of British Birding can usually be relied upon to generate a laugh or two. So in the absence of birding news from today and as a light relief, there follows later in the post an amusing tale of birding. 

Two Green Sandpipers surprised me on Monday, taking off together from the wildfowler’s pools as I approached, calling as they flew North West. I suspect that both were Spring migrants, neither of them the “green sand” I’ve failed all winter to photograph, the one that has had a regular laugh at my expense. Other wildfowl and waders on marsh and pool - 210 Shelduck, 300 Pink-footed Goose, 18 Teal, 1 Shoveler and the Brent Goose of recent months, the dark-bellied bird feeding with Shelducks at the outer edge of the marsh. 


Pink-footed Goose

Along the sea wall were small numbers of Meadow Pipits plus a single Rock Pipit, and I’m missing the movement north of large numbers of Meadow Pipits which should by 18th March be more obvious. 

Meadow Pipit

On the flood, 32 Lapwings, the now regular but varying count of Golden Plover at 155 and a Kestrel from the Damside pair patrolling the roadside. 


If all this patch work seems more than a little tame, from the weekend there’s a wretched account of twitching played out in the rural landscape of English Sussex and subsequently discussed at inordinate length on an Internet birding forum. All of it concerned a Savannah Sparrow that never was. 

It happens fairly regularly that in their impatience to make a name for themselves on "the scene" a birder will sometimes make a mistake in their ID of a bird, and then in their subsequent haste for fame, prematurely post the sighting on a blog or a bird alert service. 

More rarely such urgency for fame turns into desperation whereby a person will invent or elaborate a sighting in order to generate credibility and kudos within the hallowed community to which they aspire. 

Unfortunately for them, if they get it wrong there will be repercussions. A genuine mistake can be forgotten with a friendly pat on the shoulder, perhaps after a time the error of judgement forgiven and normalities resumed. However a deliberate attempt to deceive the serious world of chasing rare birds invites a fate almost worse than death where sanctions will include at the least the cold shoulder, exclusion from forums or pager services and the probable loss of erstwhile birder mates. 

In extremis, on this occasion and in all seriousness a few forum contributors have suggested that a physical beating or legal proceedings may be in order. I kid you not. 

Read all about it here but do have a tissue at hand to wipe away the tears. 

Savannah Sparrow - Photo credit: USFWS Headquarters / Foter / CC BY 

Now to the Google searcher who typed in the query "Do pigeons have willys?" and who eventually found my blog.

There is a definitive and serious answer to this ornithological query, but I'm not sure you will find the answer on Bird Forum. The answer is here instead. 

Wood Pigeon - "I'm not telling"

More laughs, facts and photos from Another Bird Blog soon.


Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Great pictures.. nice birds.. Congrats..

Kay L. Davies said...

Yes, I'm laughing. But I'm glad I'm not a bean weevil, because the male of that species is scarier than any human male I've ever met.
Sorry you've been having such nasty weather. It hasn't been very springlike in Canada yet, either, and as far as I know the whole country still has winter. We had snow this morning, but now we have sunshine and intermittently blue skies.
Your photo of the windblown kestrel is wonderful, Phil.
I saw plenty of bald eagles yesterday as my brother drove me from the southern suburbs to the Vancouver airport. We saw a pair sitting in a nest, and a juvenile sitting on a branch, as well as many at a distance.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil Great photographs.

David Gascoigne said...

Birding you say? Sounds like a blood sport!

eileeninmd said...

Great post and birds, Phil!! Awesome photos!

Carole M. said...

Phil, I'm ready for a laugh any time night or day, so I start reading your post in readiness! The Shovelers are intruiging. Sheeze! that's a pretty strong repercussion you mention. Oh gosh, I'm almost afraid to go clicking your links now Phil. I might go and take my mind somewhere else for a bit and come back to that :). You are a funny man (humorous streak), I know that much, but THIS is serious stuff, so I shouldn't be jesting, should I?

Choy Wai Mun said...

Good one, Phil. And you got some great shots as well. I especially like the Shoveler.

The happy wanderer. said...

Some lovely shots there. The link wouldn't work for me unfortunately - maybe a Mac idiosyncrasy!

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas Phil.Un abrazo

José Ramón said...

Greetings fabulous photographic works


Pia said...

Haha that is really funny..... sometimes I wonder what people are looking for.

Again you got a super shot from the Kestrel!

Greetings from sunny Germany,

Russell Jenkins said...

Love the lighting of the meadow pipit and you got the profile of the shoveller, spot on. I'm usually careful whom I tell about a rare bird and seemingly I'd had better be vary careful in the UK.

Mary Cromer said...

Hmm, saw this on your FB and then thought I also left a comment here, but no, not here. I love those Shovelers, and recently saw them myself for the first time, what large bills they have and they are really beautiful too. Enjoyed that Kestrel image as well as the others.
I am all good with Google except still cannot enlarge, or remove an image that uploaded by mistake from desktop, but can from laptop, so something has to be set wrong on this computer...but now to find it...sigh~

Stuart Price said...

Birders eh? Nutters.

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