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New Bird Forms Whole New Genus

Fatbirder Hoax

Dateline: 1st April 2014 …could there be more new species in the little explored island Group?

A previously unknown bird has been discovered in the San Serif archipelago (a series of islands known locally as ‘Cha’s’) and given its own genus!

The species has been given the provisional scientific name Lora polfi and is thought to be related to a wild goose. It has been put in the new genus Lorae which is derived from the birds habitat, an extensive area of land-growing Mangrove known in the local language as lora lora bush. The species name ‘polfi’ honours the Polf tribe who used to inhabit the area until wiped out by a freak volcanic incident in which Nitrous Oxide was released in lethal proportions.

Inhabitants of the island which themselves were first explored only a few decades ago (1977) have established a ‘capital’ at the small village of Bodoni on the main island of the group’ ‘Goat Cha’. While work was undertaken to clear land for an airstrip adjacent to the capital the bird was first seen by one of the architects of the project, a Mr Wren who was seconded to the islands by the UK Government as part of its aid programme. It just so happens that Kris Wren is, as his name suggests an enthusiastic birdwatcher in his free time.

“I was literally gobs-macked” said Mr Wren, “when a bird burst out of the scrub and hit me full on in the face”. Undaunted Wren took a photo of the semi-stunned bird with his smart phone and sent the picture to birding friends back in his hometown (Much Conning, Herts) following it up with more photos and hard evidence. After searching the net and being unable to decide on the birds ID they sent pictures onto the BTO, RSPB and eventually took them along to the British Museum, Natural History at Tring, Hertfordshire that houses the world famous bird collection. Ornithologists there quickly confirmed that it was an unknown species.

The quick-thinking Mr Wren, despite insipience brought on by being concussed by the impact, had taken advantage of the bird’s dazed state to pull out a tail feather thus ensuring sufficient cells were attached for DNA analysis. According to his friend, Ivan Inkling, one of those who took the feather and the snap to the BMNH, this is not Mr Wren’s first rarity find.

“I was nearly as gob-smacked as Kris”, said Mr Inkling, “when the scientists confirmed that the bird was new to science. It was a bit of a slap in the face for our birding group too as some have accused Kris of being a ‘stringer’ (twitcher’s slang for someone who makes things up) ever since he found the first record of a mating pair of Laughing Gulls in land-locked Hertfordshire. Perhaps they will believe him in future. Mind you, I always said to him he should have taken a picture of the gulls that he found pilfering the rubbish outside a branch of Odd Bins, as well as revealed their nest site, at least to his close friends.”

Wren, Inkling and others are well known to the wider birding community because of their unique record. Each year for the past five years they have formed a team (known as the ‘Wild Goose Chasers) and taken part in the annual bird race which takes place each year at the very beginning of April. Their record is that each year they have claimed the prize (a model of a Blue-footed Booby) because they have been placed last. Last year they managed to put in their worst ever score of just 17 birds seen between the villages two pubs, The Shaggy Dog and The King Canute.

A team of naturalists are planning a full-scale expedition to all the San Serif Islands to establish just how vulnerable the newly discovered species is, and to undertake a complete environmental audit. Their spokesperson, Delia Toomey said <“We believe there is every chance that there are other new species to be discovered in this little explored corner of the world. Maybe not new bird species, but we’d be really unlucky if we come back without even a new fruit fly or midge”.

San Serif’s Environment Minister was unavailable for comment. A ministry spokesman said; “The minister would have issued a full statement but, frankly, he couldn’t be arsed. So little happens here he only comes into the office once a week and he wouldn’t even get out of bed for a new species”.

4th July 2014