Happy Wanstead birders were yesterday able to add Glossy Ibis to their Greater Wanstead Lists. Gary J picked up a flock of eight flying west over Leytonstone, and using the theory of Reverse Migrancy Trajectory Prediction (Whiteman, 2011), we can confidently say that they graced Wanstead airspace, despite no birders seeing them do so.
Professor Whiteman is regarded by many as one of the last true pioneers in the study of avian listing science, and has a devoted following amongst patch-workers everywhere. His most recent work with Red Kites in north-east London has come to be regarded as seminal in the study of 'where birds might perhaps have been', and has gained him many new admirers, not least those of us in Wanstead who have been fortunate enough to encounter the Professor conducting experiments in the field, or not, as the case may be.
What started off as a simple back-calculation of a bird's trajectory, whereby a conical shape of indefinite length, but having a distal radial circumferance of strictly no more than 180 degrees, can be expanded outwards from the last known location of a bird, and in any event can be angled towards whatever patch is lacking that species from its yearlist (see figure 1), has in fact now spawned a whole new branch of scientific study.
In its rawest form, Reverse Migrancy Trajectory Prediction Theory takes the form of a thought experiment, and such is its breath-taking simplicity, is already known in some circles as 'Schrodinger's Kite'. Although this accolade is unofficial, it shows the high regard in which Professor Whiteman's work is held by listers everywhere. In a nutshell, you need not waste valuable time birding any more. Instead you can simply stay indoors and add the entire BOU List to your patch list whilst getting on with the housework.