Friday, December 31

A letter from the Dean of Losechelsea; Bernicula ruficollis

December 30th
Most Reverend Sir,
I am sending this electric letter to alert you to the news of a Red-breasted Goose Bernicula ruficollis on the Pytt Level close by your Parish. This is a most exciting observation. I note that Yarrell implies the very first for the country was obtained by one Marmaduke Tunstall shot in severe frost as recently as 1776, and thus whilst he listed no specimens for your county at the time of his publication the recent freezing weather makes good evidence for this bird’s validity.
I therefore trust you will implore local gunners to collect this fine example post-haste. The Bishop would be most pleased to have this in his collection. When last visiting your location I came upon two excellent shots, Krapfen and Slitherlink, both your parishioners so I should think known to you; but they are quite one with the land and must be made to understand this bird is for the Bishop, not for the pot!
My very best wishes to you for the forthcoming year,
The Venerable Dean Cliff of Losechelsea Cathedral

Thursday, December 30

Letter to Dr. P. Weasel, December 30th. On the Worldwideweb.

My dearest Doctor,

I trust by now you might be in receipt of direct electrical mailings revealing I have followed your advice to register with a worldwideweb provider and obtained an electric address of my own. I am in total agreement this will quicken all our enquiries into nature. I also created a worldwideweblog as a means of writing openly to all in the Parish, and beyond, who have an interest in nature; I will be copying all of my adventures there from now on, through my letters and diaries, and urge you to visit there.

I have also begun to experiment with the camera obscura you so kindly furnished me with this Christmas, and have attached my very first picture of a bird in flight. Had I just carried my field glasses I may have just thought this to be a Seagull of some sort, but now I can clearly make out this to be a species of Albatross from the southern hemisphere, which I believe to be the first for Listershire. I think my identifications will move forward in leaps and bounds!

Finally, I have also decided to establish my own scheme similar to the one you described just recently set up by Harry Witherby, namely capturing and marking birds with metal shackles, to try to learn more about their journies. Most humbly I have named this exciting venture after myself- I call it 'bird ringing' my middled Christian name being 'Ringmore'. (I toyed with 'banding', but this seemed a most vulgar term.) I will post you photographic evidence of this experiment as the year progresses.

I trust your own computer box will alert you to this messages in time for us to plan our campaign for New Year's Day, as this wretched fog precludes me from journeying to your home this day. I look forward to hearing from you by electric return.

Yours, etc,
Bandwell Fumblefinch (Reverend)