Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Here we go, here we go....

Almost off topic but I'm long overdue a rant (the dust on this one has now settled)

**** CAUTION *****

This post contains irony* and may not be suitable for persons of a sensitive disposition. Please do not read on...

Irony* Dictionary definition incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity

Shropshire birds 'Yahoo group' should be a valuable resource available to Shropshire birdfolk. I link to it, I post when there's something worth reporting, many other like minded birders do so too. I live in hope that it will be the reliable resource it should be?

And then, this happens....

.....just had a telephone call from the man who wears the "Lennie the Lion" mascot outfit at Shrewsbury football matches. He says he was walking along the river at Shrewsbury this afternoon near the old football ground when he saw two ducks in the river he had never seen before. He had a good look at them and has sonce looked them up on the internet and he says they are a male and female Smew.......






I've got nothing against 'Lennie' - I'm sure he's a lovely man and he was only doing what any normal person does when trying to enhance their knowledge of nature - ask an 'expert'?. It really shouldn't have gone further than that though? A quiet, "Lennie, it was almost certainly a pair of Goosander, just have another look at your book or the internet?" in his ear......

Could Shropshire be responsible / guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of information? Some clues are evident....

The posted report is in editorial English and immediately makes a point of alerting us to the fact it was from a man who routinely wears a Lion outfit - is this meant to add value or credence to the sighting? (Hmm, well maybe..... if we were talking Antelope vs Impala at 400m range) Lions have very good eyes for that sort of thing but we're talking birds here....

......Two ducks in the river he had never seen before

WHAT, never seen the River Severn before!! Evidence of an ailing memory I fear! It's not too many years ago that the footie was played at the Gay Meadow right by the same river and no doubt one or two Goosanders got clobbered by footballs, or empty beer cans thrown off the English bridge by chanting mobs - no wonder they left to find a quieter stretch of river?? They have now returned as the place is much quiet and tranquil (apart from 'courting' couples in the dead of night - more of that later)....

......looked them up on the internet and he says they are a male and female Smew

The Internet, or a field guide for that matter allows you to have instant recall of the most notable and detailed identification features of just about any rare bird - (for example) Little Crake to Stellers Eider, so.... they are..... no 'maybe, might or doubt about it'......

But....Wait a minute! How do you look up something you have never seen before??

I tried to simulate this - keyed 'White duck' in Google Images and got a 'Splendid Duck' or various Farmyard type creations - hmm, hardly exciting, not one of them then.....

I then tried Googling - 'Duck I have never seen' and got 'Wood Duck' at the top of a very illustious list including some really good RB Mergansers pics, and then finally .....Surf Scoters!! - crikey - is this where the Pensarn birds went to?!! Hang about though, Surf Scoters aren't normally misidentified as Smew are they? One of the Shrewsbury birds must have been white - maybe, just maybe - a Surf Scoter spontaneously becoming leucistic??

Come on you Smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo's

Here we go, here we go, here we go......

To the Severn by the English bridge that is - Black Redstart had also been correctly recorded from the area up by the old RSI a couple of Winters back too!....

I had to take a chance - there was a chance all of this could be true - STFC for the Premiership? John Terry reinstated as England Captain! Ashley Cole having a quiet night in with Cheryl.....

I actually went then and can you guess what I saw? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss you can!






Even during my 30 minute walk, I was asked if I'd photographed the 'Mergansers'* or whether it was normal to see 'Shag'** around here (Hmm, maybe after the clubs turn out in the early hours, cue disappearing Goosanders as the moans reach excessive decibels......)

* = Goosander depending upon your viewpoint?

** = Cormorants

Oh and the odd pair of BN Grebe were almost certainly this freakish Siamese twin Little Grebe combo!






Footnote - no offence is intended by this post and no birds came to harm either. Assuming you got this far, this was a light hearted dissection of how / when not to report birds you thought you saw / was told had been seen , a mega-suspect or 'possible' but unlikely sighting from self / a 'member of the public', dress code optional. Did I not / did you understand any of that?!!

1 comment:

  1. Get away, the Shrewsbury mascot is a Lion, I had identified it as Zebra, just goes to show?

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