Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Kent Pond Heron and Flycatcher shock!!!!

In light of the recent Stonechat DNA debacle - that is being referred to as 'Shitchat' in some circles - retesting has been carried out on a number of 'contentious' species. Listers, particularly in Kent, are going to be affected...

Case 1: The Hythe Pond Heron
There was a virtual national holiday declared by twitchers in 2014 when the white-coated lab-boys pronounced this bird as a pukka Chinese Pond Heron. However, a retest that was carried out earlier this week has found that the bird was, in fact, an Aylesbury Duck. Contamination of the source material (body feathers) was the cause, most probably from a foil dish that contained a take-away Crispy Duck and Hoisin sauce. Rumours that the other Stejneger's Stonechats from last autumn were mistakenly called as such because of a segment of Terry's Chocolate Orange that had been left on the laboratory table, is being investigated.

Case 2: The Dungeness Acadian Flycatcher
September 2015 was a good time to be a Dungeness gull-fondler, as Martin Casemore found out. His discovery of an Empidonax flycatcher by the fishing boats lead to a two-hour search for the American bird's droppings, that were finally tracked down resting on top of a fisherman's friend. The original findings of the DNA testing revealed the bird to be an Acadian Flycatcher, but this weeks retest has blown this pronouncement out of the water. DBO warden, Dave Walker, told ND&B: "I'm speechless - the new analysis has found that the bird was indeed an Acadian Flycatcher - but it is also an Alder, Yellow-bellied, Willow and Least! That's four additional species for the obs, and Martin becomes the first birder to add four species to the British list with a single look through a pair of bins! I'm going out to buy a chemistry set - the DBO list will be on 700 before the end of the year!"

8 comments:

  1. I saw that Heron, I went for a laugh on the way to Dunge to meet the Popcorn Twins. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be a tick. I still don't like it, I've seen too many good Heron's by that canal.

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    1. Jono, maybe the Popcorn Twins have got it right - just look at gulls. But come to think about it, that is one big world of splits, races, hybrids and identification problems that could most probably do with some DNA intervention.

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  2. Just about puts the whole twitching thing into context.

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  3. Excellent post Steve. I'll start collecting Gull poo for you tomorrow>

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    1. Thanks Martin, but please pass it on to Dave Walker so he can christen his chemistry set!

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