Thursday, 13 March 2014

I'm with stupid

Mild panic this morning, as various people retweeted news of a Savannah Sparrow on the south coast. Photos appeared of the bird on a fence, and the location was revealed. I imagine various peoples' plans changed. Not me, work first, birds second, but I watched the whole thing develop from the comfort of my desk, checking messages between meetings. Naturally a pile of people had dropped everything and rushed to Sussex - highly mega, three records, quite understandable that real life be put on hold.

But wait, what's this? By lunchtime it was revealed as a hoax! No bird, just string. Oh dear oh dear. Apparently the "finder" turned up and triumphantly showed people the fence, but unfortunately had misjudged quite how unbelievably sad savvy twitchers are and it was the wrong type of barbed wire. Yes, I know what you're thinking. But apparently the barbed wire in the UK has four sharp bits, and the barbed wire in the USA has only two. Oh yeah baby! Mr. String beat a hasty retreat, and his name is now mud. People on the internet are talking about suing him. Yes, I'm aware that it is only a bird. A class action apparently. This says more about UK twitchers than it does about the stringer.

So, another pillock desperately seeking attention is found out, and remarkably quickly. I ask you this though. If you made up a bird, would you then go to the "site" and start trying to find the bird? Perhaps being in the thick of it was exactly the thrill that had been sought, but honestly. What a pathetic saga. Why would you do such a thing? Is it actually funny? Maybe it is, as when I found out I couldn't help but smile at the thought of the equally desperate twitchers who had skived off work, jumped in their cars, and driven to Lancing for a figment of someone's imagination. Un-lucky!! Of course it's much more serious than that. They have wasted precious time. Precious brownie points. And fuel! And imagine if they had put money (20p) in a collection bucket! Ticking birds off is important - I should know. So when people get all excited about ticking another one off and then it turns out to be, heaven forbid, a lie (!), well that's just criminal isn't it?

Personally I'm pleased the whole thing was a crock of shite, as in addition to a bit of amusement on a dull Thursday morning, this weekend is a bit of no-go as far as mega twitches go. There is a massive country music festival at the O2 in London, and that is far more interesting and important to me than a small streaky bird on a bit of obviously incorrect wire. 


I saw this funny bird yesterday at Canary Wharf, which has no history of string whatsoever. At first I thought that it was a Blue Tit, as it has a lot of a blue in it, but now I am not sure. Can any birders identify it for me? I will be there in the morning to hopefully try and refind it. And by the way, the sky is precisely the right shade of blue for the meridian line in March, so don't bother going down that route. If you can identify the berry, I give up.

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