Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Maze and Mystery Bird

Yesterday we all went to Hampton Court, and got so thoroughly lost in the maze that I wondered if I ought not to have packed iron rations and distress flares; it was all getting rather reminiscent of the famous maze scene in Three Men in a Boat. We never did find the centre, and only discovered the exit by chance.
  While crossing the bridge towards Hampton Court, I was startled to see a bird of monstrous size and wingspan – larger than a swan and less heavy in the body – flying purposefully upriver. It was a long-necked affair, with prominent white shoulders to its wings, the rest of the body in various tones of black, brown and buff, possibly a little red. It was big, and, when I got to glimpse its face as it disappeared under the bridge, had a pretty evil expression and a useful-looking beak. Has anyone got any idea what it could have been? The nearest I can find a Goosander, but it looked much larger than that.

13 comments:

  1. Waaahaaay.

    The first comment of mine to actually get through to the comment section in over a year. I must be getting the hang of this computing thingamajimmy.

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  2. Good to hear from you, Recusant! Far too big for an Egyptian Goose, I think. There were plenty of those around.

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  3. Crane? I know it is unlikely but it is not impossible.

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  4. From your description I'm picturing a Secretary bird -- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sagittarius_serpentarius_Sekret%C3%A4r.JPG -- far from home. I hope it wasn't so, except for that part of me that hopes it was.

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  5. Sorry Baceseras – whatever it was, it bore no resemblance to a Secretary Bird. Nor, I'm afraid to say, was it a Crane, Karen – that did cross my mind, but the shape was all wrong, too little white, and no long legs or beak. The mystery persists. Perhaps some optical effect made it seem larger than it was? I don't know...

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  6. Sounds like the ghost of Brexit future.

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  7. Ho ho – it certainly looked like a bird of ill omen...

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  8. Toulouse Goose - there's a good vid of a pair flying on YouTube....

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  9. Thanks Guy – a possibility, tho it didn't look goose-shaped in the body. Goosander is still the closest I can come...

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