Wednesday, February 1

Returning to the fold

My dear Weasel,

I must apologise for once again neglecting to write for so very long. I am afraid my latest travails abroad have kept me from the Parish for some time now. The missionary work was a great success, converting many to the one true drink of afternoon tea. My mis-spent youth at Mrs. Miggins' Tea and Sandwich shoppe for the elderly and befuddled ornithologists has now proved to have not been an entire waste.

I have returned to an interesting local dispute over Crossedbills. Several street urchins have proclaimed a parrotte type in our midst, whilst others feel this bird to be more likely an immigrant from to the far east of the mainland continent, where they apparently show larger, more ungainly features. Now in this enlightened age if we were to draw characterisations like this upon our fellow man, we would surely be chastised. I recall name-calling of this type near Mrs Miggins' Shoppe some years ago now. There was no need.

It is much like the similarly sad case of the Mealey Redpoll, which, so put upon by name calling of late, appears to have retreated this winter to just one locale, some way west of the parish along the downs, where it apparently gathers together in large numbers not unlike some ghetto bird.

We should not treat them like this as they are equals in the Good Lord's eyes! One Redpoll is not lesser to another for its appearance, as one Crossedbill is not different to another for simply having a more pronounced set of features. For shame.

Enough of birds, I must retire to the study to interview for a replacement gravedigger now that Dumpton has gone and converted to cremations.

Yours in all good faith,
Bandwell Ringmore Bumblefinch (Revd)

A postscript: Excepting White-winged Crossedbill of course. Now that is a true species. I have a friend whose gardener has repeatedly seen four of them around his gazebo of late. This friend seeks no attention for his land, so I think I may drop an anonymous line to young Norman Ticehurst, whom I know is busy penning a book on the area, to see if he wishes to include them. I am sure he will, on the strength of my trusted word alone..