Thursday, 30 October 2014

Impoverished north-east to replace lost heavy industry with Eastern Crowned Warblers

With the discovery of yet another Eastern Crowned Warbler today in north-east England, awkward questions are beginning to be asked of the provenance of these charming far eastern vagrants.

Tom Logan, a twitcher from west London, said “It’s a bit suspicious, frankly. Everyone knows that lightning doesn’t strike twice, except on Fair Isle, where it strikes repeatedly over and over again. So for Britain’s third Eastern Crowned Warbler to be found not a million miles away from the first, and a mere five years later, seems pretty fucking suspect to me. What’s going on in the north-east?”

The answer, it seems, lies in leaked email correspondence between the councils in the area. There is rumoured to be a plan afoot to use European funding to support a carefully orchestrated release program of far eastern vagrant birds along the north-east coastline in an attempt to ‘replace the lost economic benefit of the heavy industry Thatcher shafted with a thriving autumn birding scene that will, in time, come to supplant Shetland’.

The emails outline a plan to start with a succession of eye-catching Eastern Crowned Warblers, before in subsequent years stepping up the tempo with single Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers, and building to a crescendo in 2020 with the release of a Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler in Co.Durham.

For now, birders are left wondering whether to set their scruples to one side and believe these birds could repeatedly occur in such an unlikely location. Tom Logan concluded, “The first bird is staying on my list. For fuck’s sake, Red-headed Bunting has been on there for decades too, so I’m hardly going to scratch this one out, no matter how preposterous it might seem”.

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