Friday 12 December 2014

RSPB scientists to create new super-predator

News emerged today that a shadowy team of RSPB scientists have been tasked to create a new avian super-predator, a nightmarish hybrid between a Cormorant and a Hen Harrier.

“It’s going to be every angler and every shooting estate’s worst nightmare,” said a gleeful Dr Montgomery Moreau, the lead scientist for the project. “Picture, if you will, an omnivorous hybrid that’s as happy catching carp as it snaffling grouse chicks. The incorporation of waterproofing into the Cormorant is a definite advance, as is the increased aerial manoeuvrability. This bad boy can hunt fish like an Osprey.

“At the same time, instead of faffing around tearing up prey items into little bits on a grouse moor, the Cormorant-like ability to swallow prey whole in a couple of quick gulps means the new hybrids will be able to literally scarf down entire broods of newly-hatched Red Grouse.

“It’s going to be carnage in the uplands and in the lakes. Why are we doing this, you might ask? Well, partly because we’re just bored of justifying the perfectly natural actions of species like Cormorants and Hen Harriers when faced with an unnaturally dense food source.

“But mainly just because we can”.

Edward Prendick, a plainly confused supporter of comedy pro-country sports lobbying group You Forgot The Birds blustered, “Yeah, well, we’re going to make a hybrid of our own, so there! It’s going to be a cross between a gamekeeper and a farmer!

“Meaning it’ll be completely at home handling illegal pesticides, competent with a shotgun, brilliant at sourcing massive amounts of public subsidy, and adept at currying favour with politicians. The only problem we can foresee is hybrid sterility...

“Because, as anyone who knows the first thing about country sports would tell you, anyone who likes shooting animals for fun invariably has a tiny, tiny penis”.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Poisoning project aims to rid South Georgia of world’s largest rat problem

“It’s an absolute fucking monster,” observes Arthur Balsam, the conservationist leading the project that aims to eradicate South Georgia’s enormous rat problem.

The rat in question has been living on South Georgia for some two centuries now, and is believed to have been introduced there by visiting sailors. For the past couple of hundred years it has fed on the chicks of the millions of seabirds that nest on the island, and has caused their populations to crash by some 90%.

“You remember how MacDonald’s staff used to ask you if you wanted to ‘go large’ on your meal?” asked Professor Balsam. “Well this fat bastard has been going large on King Penguins for decades. And look at the situation now – we’ve got a seabird population that’s teetering on the brink of total collapse, and a rat that blots out the sun as it waddles around chowing down on penguins and albatrosses”.

Professor Balsam’s team will begin a £2.5m poison bait-dropping program in February 2015. They intend to use helicopters to airlift in a 95 tonne pellet of Brodifacoum, which will be cunningly concealed in the traditional fashion beneath a massive section of plastic guttering held down by a couple of big stones.

“We’re hopeful the rat will take the bait and succumb once and for all,” commented Professor Balsam. “But just in case it doesn’t, we’ll be leaving a secure store of poison on the island afterwards by way of a contingency plan. I’ve seen Godzilla. I know how difficult it is to slay an improbably super-big kaiju.

“And I don’t fancy trying to use a cricket bat to deliver a coup de grace to this hairy motherfucker”.

Friday 28 November 2014

‘Fuck you’, say Ruddy Ducks

Britain’s surviving Ruddy Ducks said a big, hearty “fuck you” to DEFRA today. Speaking from a secret location in Dorset, the survivors of the ongoing culling program issued a press release in which they slammed DEFRA’s sub-contracted marksmen as ‘inept gun-toting twats who should stick to industrially reared Pheasants’ and promised to ‘breed like a bastard’ next year.

Tom Logan, a Ruddy Duck drake who divides his time between Dorset and Hampshire, said “Peter Scott would be proud of us. We’re enduring against all the odds.

“Although to be fair, if DEFRA employed birders instead of so-called professional marksmen, they might actually have an inkling as to where we hang out. I mean, it’s not exactly as if we’re inconspicuous. I’ve got a neon-bright blue beak, for fuck's sake.

“I’m planning on spending the early part of next year getting a few broods underway, and then I think I’ll fuck off to Spain and shag a White-headed Duck or three with my improbably massive duck penis. Those sexy Spanish senoritas... I just can’t resist. I know I shouldn’t, but...

"You know what, I think I will”.

Arthur Balsam, a shooterist employed by DEFRA in recent years said “They’ve got wise to us. And if I’m honest, I’ve a sneaking admiration for the Ruddies. They get to live an adrenalin-charged life of shagging on the edge of the law. Sounds like fun to me.”

Tom Logan peered cautiously up and down his chosen body of water, and defiantly added “Fuck you, DEFRA”.

And with that, he vanished into the reeds.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

UKIP blame bird flu outbreak on Russian Wigeon named Putin

On the eve of the Rochester by-election, UKIP today attempted to whip up their already confused supporters into a xenophobic and fear-fuelled voting frenzy.

Whilst DEFRA had been prepared to attribute the recent confirmed outbreak of the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a duck farm in East Yorkshire to ‘a wild bird origin’, UKIP took things a step further this morning when they blamed a recently arrived Wigeon from Russia for the disease’s arrival in Britain.

“It’s perfectly clear to us that this dirty Russian immigrant has come here hoping to tap into our country’s over-generous welfare system!” sputtered Enid Felcher, a staunch and swivel-eyed UKIP party member from Chatham.

“It’s a sign of how the Tories have broken Britain – and not content with that, they’ve imposed sanctions on Russia, god only knows why, and that’s driving these desperate Wigeon to try to claim asylum in our warm, cosy duck farms.

“And once they’re there, they start taking the jobs from good, honest, British-born domestic ducks. When they’re not stealing the position of delicious Chinese restaurant starter, they’re signing on and drawing benefits... and now they’re bringing their weird contagious respiratory diseases with them. The filthy, greedy and above all, foreign bastards!”

Vladimir Putin, a Wigeon originally from a small wetland near St Petersburg, said, “This is just Nigel Farage and his deranged cohorts trying to start a new cold war. And speaking of colds, I may be running a high temperature and generally feeling like shit, but I’ve not got bird flu.

“It’s just a bit of a sniffle”.

Monday 17 November 2014

Desperate tickers mark Mugimaki Flycatcher anniversary

With today marking the 23rd anniversary of the ill-fated appearance of a Mugimaki Flycatcher in Humberside, a new birders’ news service has been launched to cater for those who are interested in devoting lots of time and plenty of money to seeing escaped birds at large in the UK.

Birds I Really Don’t Get Unless I’m Desperate & Easily Satisfied (BIRDGUID&ES) promises to provide an accurate news service devoted entirely to the sort of dodgy rubbish that, in a more discerning past, birders wouldn’t have bothered to get out of bed for.

Practically anything will be newsworthy – be it a Common Bulbul sporting an aviculturist’s ring, a half-blind and lame Blue Rock Thrush, or a pet Snowy Sheathbill wandering a dock and wondering where all the on-board scraps have gone.

“This is precisely what I’ve been waiting for!” exclaimed a clearly delighted Tom Logan. “Up until now nobody has taken my desire to augment my list with plastic crap seriously.

“You’d get the occasional report of a dodgy House Finch or Red-fronted Serin, but by and large the existing bird services haven’t catered for the truly desperate lister. You only have to look at the vitriol poured out on any Birdforum thread devoted to an escaped bird. That’s where you’ll see the utter contempt that most people have for blokes like me who don’t have functional adult relationships with anyone but other like-minded arseholes.

“Well, now we have a news provider that’s taking seriously our need to validate ourselves by adorning our lists with as many species as possible!”

Arthur Balsam, a birder who saw the Mugimaki Flycatcher at Stone Creek on 17th November 1991, remains indifferent. “Everyone who saw the Mugimaki at the time knew it was the real deal, and the subsequent decision by the British Ornithologists Union Records Committee to label it as an escape was laughable. Lest we forget, this is the same committee that latterly opened the door to Hooded Merganser, for fuck’s sake.

“It’s a sign of the times that people are getting excited about reports on the news services of escaped bulbuls.

“Ship-assisted my hairy arse”.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

British birding ‘getting a bit dull’ say birders

Britain’s birders reluctantly admitted today that they’re a bit bored of the whole thing, and in the absence of anything colourful, new and distinctly different to see, they’re considering taking up an entirely new and fulfilling past-time, like golf.

“It’s partly because, once you’ve seen all the bright resident stuff like Blue Tits and Green Woodpeckers, you’re left with vagrant birds to provide variety,” said Arthur Balsam, a birdwatcher from Faversham. “And, let’s be brutally honest, they’re invariably dull as fuck to look at, for all they’re numerically rare in Britain.

“Look at the news these past few days. American Coot in Co.Kerry? Dull as fuck. And as for the putative eastern lagopodum subspecies of House Martin, I’d tell you that’s dull as fuck too but you wouldn’t be able to hear me over the sound of a massive barrel being desperately scraped. What the merry hell is the birding world coming to? When did it all get so tedious?

“We used to take the piss when Lee Evans banged on about some obscure subspecies deserving to be taken as seriously as the nominate full species. Now Martin Garner's at it, it's a different matter entirely. Which is odd".

The issue of tricky subspecies continues to exercise birders, with many uneasy about ticking any mooted species that can only be safely identified with a DNA sample, a sonogram, or a generous slice of wishful thinking in the field. For many, it smacks of desperation.

“Time was when I used to look at the Birding Frontiers website for cutting edge identification tips. Now it’s all possible split this and potential first subspecies for the Western Palearctic that,” added a disgruntled Mr Balsam.

“I bet Martin Garner would really, secretly, like to break the news of a nice, incontrovertible, properly rare species.

“Narcissus Flycatcher, for example. That’d be a good one”.

Monday 10 November 2014

Santa to boycott disgraced Norfolk gamekeeper

A gamekeeper from Norfolk, Allen Lambert, was convicted last week of poisoning 11 birds of prey on the Stody Estate in what the RSPB described as the ‘worst case ever detected in Britain’

District judge Peter Veits warned Britain’s rural aristocracy that they need to take responsibility for their employees’ actions, but fell short of imposing a custodial sentence on Lambert, instead convicting him to a 10 week jail term suspended for one year. While many felt this was unduly lenient given the gravity of Lambert’s crime – he was found guilty of poisoning 10 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk – higher powers were alerted to his misdemeanours, and are imposing a far sterner sanction.

“He’s not going to get any presents from Father Christmas this year,” said Buddy, a spokeself from Lapland. “Santa doesn’t bring presents to naughty boys and girls, and Allen’s been a very naughty boy indeed this year.

“Santa’s not cross with him. He’s just very, very disappointed. And he hopes Allen will be better behaved next year

Whilst many bird-lovers were initially dismayed by the perceived leniency of the sentence, they have been mollified by the stern response from Santa Claus. Tom Logan, a birder from Norwich, said “This is more like it. Ideally, I’d have liked to have seen him sent down for at least six months, if not longer. But at least this way he won’t be finding any shiny new pots of Carbofuran in his stocking on Christmas morning, and that’s going to hurt him deeply, I’m sure”.

Others are less convinced. “Fuck that shit”, said the Easter Bunny. “This bitch gets nothing from me anytime soon. Years without an Easter egg...

"He should have thought about that when he poisoned those birds”.