Saturday, 9 May 2009
Sightings of the Lesser Spotted Dyer
Twitchers in East London are excitedly comparing notes following rare sightings of that most elusive of visitors to British shores, the Lesser Spotted Dyer. Famed for it's speed of flight and aggressive behaviour, the Lesser Spotted is renowned for rarely leaving the comfort of its nest, preferring instead to keep tucked up nice and warm through the winter in a form of hibernation almost unique in the world of ornithology.
Famous twitcher Bill Oddie told excitedly of seven brief sightings in 2008-09: "By the Lesser Spotted's standards, this is high exposure. On one occasion it remained in flight for an incredible 57 minutes having been startled from its nest by an unexpected intruder. Then, amazingly, it made an even longer appearance the following week - a whole 61 minutes - but the stress appears to be such that it has now gone to ground, disappearing from our radars completely."
Experts have been searching for an explanation for the latest disappearance but, to date, have come up with no solid answers. "It is perfectly possible that the Lesser Spotted is feeling unwell. All that flying, 118 minutes over a two week period, has probably exhausted it. I wouldn't be surprised if we have to wait another year before it ventures from the nest again."
Meanwhile, the twitchers' hopes of seeing an even rarer visitor in flight appear to have been dashed. Oddie explained: "The Beano is a member of the cuckoo family. It occupies a nest and fattens itself on the food intended for the smaller and younger fledglings. I always thought the predictions of Zola that we might see the Beano in flight this spring were dreadfully optimistic. It is a famously stubborn and lazy creature and will only take to the air when it wants to. Maybe September if we are lucky but, based on previous years, we shouldn't expect it to be in the air for long even then!"
Posted by Hammersfan at 22:50