Monday, 8 September 2014

Eastern Phoebe in Cornwall stuns Norfolk birders

Norfolk’s birders were today picking themselves up off the floor in shock at how far from grace the Cornish have fallen.

With news breaking shortly after midday of an Eastern Phoebe reported in Cornwall, Norfolk’s notoriously tight-lipped birdwatching fraternity howled with laughter at the low standards of news suppression on display.

“Once upon a time Cornwall’s birders were a by-word for not telling a soul about tanagers in the valleys,” said Arthur Balsam, a birder who moved to the North Norfolk coast in the 1980s and now considers himself a local. “Nowadays they’re just a joke. No sooner has someone found something good in West Penwith than they’re putting the news out for any old ticker to come and see it. They should have a long hard think about the message they’re sending to young birders.

“It shouldn’t be ‘MEGA Cornwall EASTERN PHOEBE reported 1.5mls south of St.Just’ – no, what they should be saying is it’s far more fun to keep news of a rare bird entirely to a small group of close friends, and only release the news once the bird’s long gone.

“Like we did with the Short-toed Eagle recently, to pick an example entirely and smugly at random.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the country’s birders flooded to Birdforum to ask themselves “are there any photos yet” and, in the absence of any immediately forthcoming, “are you sure it’s not a Spotted Flycatcher?”

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