Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Birding in 2014 - what is going to happen

I have had access to the North Downs and Beyond crystal ball, and can reveal the high (and low) lights coming up in 2014.

January: Year listing is postponed for the month owing to flooding, strong winds and a large dollop of apathy.

February: It is revealed that the Humberside Ivory Gull really was just a pigeon. Hornsea pigeon-fancier Seth Boycott said 'I wondered why Snowy came back to the loft each evening stinking of fish, and now I know why!"

March: Twitter has a record day on March 15th, when over 756,000 tweets are sent with the word 'Wheatear' appearing. Over 230,000 images of the same species are posted on Blogger the following week.

April: British Birds journal is relaunched, now to be called 'BOOM!'

May: The first auto-bird-recognition filter for Swarovski scopes is available, but is soon recalled after every Common Swift is registered as a Pallid. Some birders wonder whether the filter had already been put into production the previous autumn...

June: A team from the Edward Grey Institute, after a million pound investigation, announce that the sound of a Nightjar churring is not dissimilar to the noise of a fishing reel being turned. Owen Paterson congratulates the students, saying this is just the sort of thing that our environmental bodies should be spending their time and our money on.

July: Operation Yew Tree closes the Next Generation Birders after claims of the schoolboy membership being 'groomed' by older birders. Inspector Fiddler, the operation's spokesman said, "We've arrested a number of middle-aged men on suspicion of trying to corrupt young minds. We found notebooks full of obvious code words being used to try and cover up their nefarious activities - such as 'woodcock' and 'Dick's Pipit'. We are very keen on finding one particular man whose name crops up time and time again - one Portland Bill."

August: In a fit of pique, the BOU decide to lump everything that they can, to cut down on administrative work. We now have one species of gull (Sea Gull), one Redpoll (Simples Redpoll) and all wildfowl are to be removed from Category A-D and placed in a new category Z - or the 'Who Gives a Shit' category.

September: Hurricane Elspeth, the fifteenth 'record breaking' storm of the year, roars into Europe bringing record numbers of Yankee waders to Britain. A flock of 15 Buff-breasted Sandpipers are seen on a large puddle in Trafalgar Square and the Aston Villa versus Newcastle United game is abandoned when up to 750 Hudsonian Godwits circle the pitch causing the crowd to panic.

October: A state of emergency is declared on the Scottish Islands due to food shortages, caused by the arrival of hundreds of birding possees. Mass brawls break out over whose turn it is to walk the iris beds, vigilante gangs guard favoured gardens and there are several hospitalisations caused by arguments as to who 'self-found' what.

November: A Ural Owl is found in a Devon garden. The finder invites a few mates to see the bird under an oath of secrecy. After the owl departs, stunning photographs and sketches are released on the internet. Several birding blogs close.

December: The EU abolishes all regional bird listing, unifying all lists into one big EU life list. Birders up and down the country try to remember just what they saw on all of those 18-30 holidays they took back in the day.

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