Tag Archives: ornithology

2070. The Little Egret

You might think it’s funny but it’s not. The dog really did tear up Anita’s homework. She had spent an entire two months on her project. She had maps and drawings and pages and pages of writing. I’m sure Anita knew more about Egretta garzetta immaculate than most ornithologists.

This Little Egret doesn’t nest here, but it comes for the winter months – apparently. Anita has never seen one, and nor have I. Just a few arrive for several months and then fly away again. I promised Anita we’d go to see them next season when the egrets arrive. We’re both looking forward to it actually; more so now that the dog has torn her precious project up. The silly thing is that the egrets wade in a lagoon not far away from here. It’s walking distance – that is, by a couple of hours. We tried once before to see them but when we got there they weren’t there!

Anita emailed the teacher about the dog and asked for a time extension to do it all again, and the teacher replied with a curt: Good one. Next time try and think up something original. You’re getting an F.

This is grossly unfair. It’s bad enough not being able to attend classes with this wretched pandemic; but not being able to properly converse with the teacher face to face makes things much more difficult. I had a conversation with the teacher online about all this and she called me a liar. So I called her a few things as well. I was cut off and that was that.

Of course we can’t go visit the egrets this year because we’re all stuck at home. It’s ridiculous. Will we ever see a Little Egret? What’s this? Goodness! What’s the dog ripping up now? Don’t tell me he’s got another one of the chickens. Dear me, there seems to be white feathers everywhere.

1852. After the long journey

How wonderful! Rafferty (known to his friends as Raff) belonged to the Spiggyholes Ornithologist Society. Like most bird-watchers he was consumed by a passion for observing birds. Every Saturday, sunshine or not, he would disappear into the environment with camera and binoculars.

It was on one of these Saturday excursions that Raff spied a pair of Condove Variegated Flicktails (Australissimus flickbumibus). These birds were native to a neighbouring continent and had never been seen in this country before. When I say “neighbouring”, the continent and Raff’s country were separated by a sea of hundreds of miles. The pair of Condove Variegated Flicktails (Australissimus flickbumibus) had clearly been caught in a massive storm and been blown across the ocean. It was not a migratory bird. Such a thing happened only once or twice in a century or so. If the storm-blown birds settled and reproduced they would be classified as “native” to the country because they were not introduced by humans.

Raff’s excitement knew no bounds. The Condove Variegated Flicktail (Australissimus flickbumibus) was by no means a boring bird, unlike most of the native species of his country. The native species were all black or dark grey or dark brown or dark green. Quite dreary really! Whereas the Condove Variegated Flicktails (Australissimus flickbumibus) were a bright and colourful addition to the native fauna. Let’s hope they breed.

And sing! My word! Could the Condove Variegated Flicktails (Australissimus flickbumibus) sing or what?

Raff wrote an article (complete with photographs) for the Ornithological Bulletin, a monthly magazine dedicated to the promotion of native species of birds. What a furore the article caused! Half the readers were thrilled with such a colourful and musical possible permanent settler. The rest of the readers were dismayed. The new species would undermine the habitat of the native Leaden Brown Muted Caw-caw bird (Boringdullnus dozimus).

That’s why a representative was sent by the Government’s Ministry of the Environment to shoot the Condove Variegated Flicktails (Australissimus flickbumibus) dead.