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Elementary my dear Mrs Watson's Black Flycatcher

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yesterday's post wasn't meant as a trivial fun game to try and fill a blogging hole, I am genuinely interested to know what others think, so Des, Tim and Stuart thanks. But what was my thinking? Well, here goes nothing...


A list of the salient facts (kinda).

They definitely look like game bird feathers. There large striped one looks almost duck-like. Perhaps even Eider-ish.

This is Fulham. Any game bird, or sea duck would be absolute patch gold. They are not on the list of birds that I might reasonably expect here. However, recent london sitings have produced a small number of such sitings.

The amount of feathers on the river wall might well indicate a kill. But what is going to kill a large game bird round here? A Peregrine might, but you would expect it to be a pigeon specialist in London – the sight of a Pheasant sitting in a tree would cause it much confusion and there is another point – Pheasants roost in trees.

There was no blood. Or carcass. But either could have been removed – by rain or fox.

Fox. They are around here, but not much. I have seen them walking around the shops in the Kings Road during the rush hour, but the probability of one surfacing long enough to take its nose away from the rubbish bins to get a Pheasant that is unlikely to be here in the first place is small.

Litter. And this might be where the truth lies. In the 21st century, the good burghers of London treat their streets and waterways only marginally better than they did in the time of Pepys. If it can go on the floor, it will. If it can be left on an Industrial Estate, it will. If it can be dumped in the river then it definitely will. That’s why Thames21 exist. I have seen everything on the river bank from handbags to handguns, televisions to teletubbies. Everything gets chucked in this unfortunate body of water.

So, my dear Watson – in summary... they are the feathers of a game bird, but a game bird is fantastically rare in Fulham. Litter is much more common. If an item of litter contained feathers, it is more likely to have been the source of the problem in hand. What you do not know dear reader, is that across the river I know of where a bedsheet hangs in a bush by the river bank.  Bedding is already in the system. And this is the crux of the matter. This is where Occams Razor cuts through everything, bones and fillets the red herrings - delivering it in a nice white wine sauce of truth.  In theory.

Someone dumped a feather pillow. Loads fell out and stayed on the river wall, while the rest drifted off in the halcyon waters of the Thames. I believe this to be much more likely than a Pheasant drifting up here and getting wiped out.

Had me going for a while though.



Sherlock Holmes doing holding his Occams Razor.

2 comments:

Stuart's Poor Birding World said...

Flipping Heck! Having said that, a fishing shop in Glasgow used to sell bags of feathers for fly-tying and those had all sorts of exotics admixed e.g. Woodland Kingfisher.
Imagine the deductive reasoning:- Woodland Kingfisher eaten by Boubou regurgitated by...etc.
Incidentally, the Water of Leith is full of Pepys and other pollution as well.
Great blog - very funny, well written, and great photographs (Grrrr!).

Anonymous said...

Can't buy that. Those quills would put your eye out !!!
(Pops)

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