Friday, 5 March 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

I've spent the last week looking out of an office window at crystal clear blue skies. This work thing is rubbish. A soaring Sparrowhawk has been the highlight of the office list this week, unless you include my train journeys. The line from Plymouth to Exeter may meander so far out of a straight line that it takes about half an hour longer than the car but the consolation is that it runs along the coast at Dawlish and then up the Exe Estuary. I reckon it is the best main line birding train journey. If the tide is right you can clock up an impressive list of wildfowl and waders, and I always seem to get diverted from the laptop at this point. Greenshank and Black tailed Godwit have been showing well this week.

Before I grew up I used to always keep stupid casual lists (I had a car list once - the rules were one had to have at least one foot in the smewmobile - which featured various rares) but I have also been fortunate to having one of the best office lists imaginable. I wish I still had the records but to give you an idea it included Red breasted Fly, Greenish Warbler, and a host of other passerines as well as seabirds including Sooty Shearwater and Little Auk. Admittedly I did have the good fortune to have an office in the Bluebell at Spurn.

Anyway - I am pleased to announce that Assistant Clerk of Works is coming on great guns with her birding skills. Some might call it indoctrination but her first word was "ducky", quickly followed by "birdy". I am now proud to say that she can identify her first species, not that it will come in particularly handy that frequently in Cornwall, but she can now positively id a Hoopoe. This is in no small part down to the RSPB's excellent soft toys with real bird calls. Can you spot the difference to the real thing?

She has also contributed her thoughts on the lumping and splitting debate, which are about as informed as most people's. She reckons all birds fall into two species - firstly those that go "tweet tweet" and secondly those that go "quack quack". Thus, armed with nothing more than a slice of soggy toast one can clear up on the whole British list over breakfast!
(I was going to claim credit for that, but I will admit that I have shamelessly plagiarised it from the distant past - can you plagiarise something for which you can't remember the source. I'm sure Morrissey would have an answer).

1 comment:

  1. Where does "Pie" fit into this bird-related Asst. CoW vocabulary. I think I can make a decent guess.