antisceptic

There is a temptation in the Thing household this weekend to go for a cheeky twitch amongst the other stuff that has to be done that I won’t bore you with, and the question arises as to what and where and/or if.  Being rather risk averse in these matters (i.e. we will not be chartering planes on the offchance of seeing a funny looking warbler on Fair Isle should it appear) the bird will need to be reasonably local and easier to find than a Waxwing somewhere off the Dereham Road ffs.  The easy/obvious choices (for those that follow Birdguides – other rare bird services are available) are Northern Harrier at Thornham, American Wigeon at Salthouse/Cley or Iceland Gull at Loowstuf’.  Thornham is like miles away right, so maybe not.  The Iceland Gull (which I recently described to Mrs Thing as an obscenity-great-big-dirty-med) is not a bad call and the American Wigeon should be dead easy but maybe too easy?  You see I have an objection to this bird dear reader, and don’t really want to go for it (here he goes again you say) even though I have never seen an American Wigeon and everyone likes ducks right?

Stick with it, there is some half cocked reasoning in here which makes a fair bit of sense to me.

Right then, there is a field in north Norfolk that is full of Brent Geese, which are evidently wild.  If you look into this field you will also find that there are lots of Wigeon, which are evidently wild.  If you look a bit more about this field you will find that there are often Barnacle Geese, a Ross’s Goose and if you are particularly unlucky a Barnacle x Canada cross (yuk!) and all of these birds are  manifestly not wild.  You still here?  Now, I have in the past witnessed the tendency of escaped wildfowl to tow along with an evidently wild bird.  In fact I once wrote a paper blogpost about it.  My entire thesis argument is neatly summarised in this here photo.

Wood Ducks following a Wigeon
So there is, right, this field full of wildfowl that is largely wild with a fair old dollop of acknowledged escapees and then all of a sudden another bird appears (the American Wigeon no less) in the same field and it’s automatically assumed to be a genuine vagrant.  Whoa!  Hold on Mr Twitcher and get yer thinking hat on.  Let’s get out the armchair philosophers favourite tool, Occams Razor (I can hear the groans already – or is it the snores?) and the simplest argument is more likely to hold the truth.  Reason dictates that the American Wigeon is an escape that has latched onto the big flock of wild Wigeon that are with the wild Geese that are all being haunted by some wannabe wild-bird-escapees.  Simple innit?  The new bird, as far as I am concerned, has no more value than the Ross’s Goose that I banged on about a couple of days ago.  Obviously if the new Wigeon is photo’d with a ring on it stating Made In Idaho, I’ll be right up there, no questions asked.  But I doubt it.
Reckon oil goo loowstuff than.
Oh, and if you really are still reading this and wondering what on gawds earth the title has to do with anything that follows, it’s cockernee innit.  Sceptic Tank – Yank.  Geddit?
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