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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Scilly Cowpat!

Talk about a load of bullshit! - Strange how stories change over the years! Taken from a blog somewhere...

My favourite birding bloomer is the story about twitchers years ago on the Isles of Scilly rolling up to 'tick' a tired nighthawk (a kind of North American nightjar) sitting on the grass in a field. Only later did someone approach more closely and discover they'd all been watching a cowpat!
White plastic bags regularly get mis-identified as egrets of one kind or another... :-)


Steve Hinton said...

1.The news broke of a Nightjar in a field.
2. As far as I know nobody saw whatever it was. (maybe Smudger).

Steve Hinton said...

It also appeared about a year later on `The Big Breakfast` Twitchers flock to the Isles of Scilly to see a Cowpat!

Alex said...

Remember the event well. Some time in the early 90s, think most people had gone off Island to chase a report of a Black-billed Cuckoo on Bryher. Myself and the Wader were long past chasing low lister birds such as BBC so decided to take a stroll around St Mary's. We just reached the bottom of Porthloo Lane when the CB crackles "Nightjar sp" sat in a field Porthloo Lane. Naturally we wear chomping at the bit as we were primed to be first on the scene, so start to hot foot it towards the field. However we didn't get very far before the CB crackles again telling people not to bother. Naturally a few people came on the air to ask what the Nightjar had been and quick as a flash, the Wader chips in with "Cowpat".

So there a story was born, we never did find out what it really was but funny how the story has taken a life of its own. Even in them days, Wader was right at the front of all the action! As they say, why let the facts get in the way of a good story,

MauriceC said...

The old Scillies scene was magic. Seems it bit tame now !

Richard G. Smith said...

I recall being in the lane - the only thing in the field 'roosting' was the same colour and cryptic pattern as a US nighthawk.
If indeed it was a nighthawk roosting then it was unlikely to wake until dusk - nighthawks would normally roost in trees - a point that seemed to be forgotten by the anonymous original stringer.
Eventually someone did enter the field and the nighthawk or shitehawk did not fly away.