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Infrequently Given Answers - vol. 2

For those of you who just can't get enough, here is another round of the unique world of u.r.b. (Volume 1 is still available.)

From: (harris)
Subject: simple pleasures
Date: 12 Sep 2000

We all have simple birding pleasures. I had one this morning. For most of the 
year we have been without a resident robin (the result of new neighbours cats I 
fear, bu**ers!). This morning, no doubt the result of territory reassertions 
following breeding, I was greeted by the warming sight of a single robin 
feeding on the birdtable (sex unknown). Hopefully it will be with us all 
Question: anyone know where I can get a flak jacket for a robin (with fitting 
instructions), a small underwing magnum 44, with holster, and a course on 
evasion techniques to give to my robin as an early christmas present?

Well, never let it be said that uk.r.b'-ers don't try to help. And so ...
From: john taverner 
Subject: Re: simple pleasures
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 


We at may have the answer to your problem. We are a
progressive .com company set up to fill that niche in avian armour and

For your Robin, the breast armour is most important, the green
colouration fools felinities. We at feel the 44 Magnum is
a bit OTT for the Robin, may we suggest a SAS Beretta. The holster is
not wing hung, but over the breast armour, one peck and Puss is history.

If, as it seems, you are into really 'serious', may I suggest our
Woodpigeon kit for the Phalanx gun. We have tried it with woodies and
feel it should bring you great pleasure. The one drawback is that it is
a single mission only weapon, one burst and cat is no more, but the
recoil has a habit of dewinging the woodie, but that avian group is

I do feel that, You Sir, would like to try our ultimate weapon, the
dropping-guided bomblet. These are highly classified, but to give Sir
a flavour, I will brief you on a mission by our crack team of Herring
It was in Area 51, a cat had taken up residence on St.xxxxx
Harbour wall. The foul creature was eating all the fish scraps thrown
about by visitors. It had entered the gulls, hunger

We armed up three brave gulls, one was to designate the target with an
accurate shitdrop, the second was wingman to Gull second Class xxxxxxx.
Full wing and body armour was worn.

Primary munitions were partypoopers, guided by fine thread by The Hero,
two munitions landed directly on the bird mucked cat. No more cat, just
pooper stringers mixed with bits of a felines digestive system.

I hope that has helped your task in arming your birds.

Our prices are competitive and please allow 7 days for delivery.

Payment by credit card is welcomed.

Harold Herring CEP

A caring compassionate company.

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 
From: Chris Mead 
Subject: Re: simple pleasures

Disregard the tiresome posting from our rivals that involves so much 
blood and guts.

Here at Confuse-a-cat we have the ideal bloodless answer to your 
Robin's problem.

A small solar-powered hologram imaging device simply wipes out the 
image of your Robin from where it is and places it 30 cm to right or 
left - selected by the Robin.  This has, incidentally, helped the 
Robins so fitted to forage as the insects suddenly get zapped by a 
bird apparently standing a foot away.

The breeding facility allows each hologram machine to sense the 
presence of another and either switch both off to allow normal sex OR 
to merge the two to allow remote sex at a distance of 30 cm.  With 
remote switched on aggressive encounters between two males have 
resulted in several short notes to Brutish Brids describing the two 
birds knocking hell out of each other and a small pile of feathers 
building up 30 cm away!

Coming soon the twitcher's delight.  Lean on the gate to that 
forbidden field and walk up to the rarity unseen.  New UK400 listing 
category - TWEEKED - same as twitched but you have actually touched 
the bird without it knowing!

Confuse-a-cat Inc
Hilborough, Norfolk

From: "Gordon Hamlett" 
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2000 

Jason Smart wrote:
>Can anyone beat the Plymouth birder who came home after a night out to 
>find that a flatmate had fielded a telephone call and slipped a note under 
>his door saying "Bonaparte's skull at Plymouth Hoe"?

Pratting Gull comes up quite often. I've also had a message for an
Arctic's cure. I suspect that Malodourous Warbler is apocryphal.

Plenty of errors -  some found - some not -  in the magazine including:

Great Northern Driver
Little Ow
Great Grey Strike
Beaded Tit
Breaded Tit
Whopper Swan (mind you, after some of the stories going round about
the generative organs of Ruddy Ducks, this may well be a more
appropriate name)

Also plenty of regular spelling mistakes (as opposed to one-off
misprints etc) from contributors including past county recorders who
maybe ought to have known better, including:

Petrel Sandpiper (= pectoral presumably) and my favourite
Ye Olde Fieldfayre

Any spelling mistakes of my own are, of course merely included to add
a degree of verisimilitude and have not been properly proof read by
someone else :-))


Like most corners of the western world, we also had our discussions as to the correct starting date of the new millennium. At least they were better natured here than in most places ...

From: Paul Rooney 
Subject: First bird of the millennium
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 03:45:28 

Guess what - lapwings flying over my garden!

From: Jack Harrison 
Subject: First bird of the millennium
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001

I'll look up my log for twelve months ago:-)

From: "Bill Alexander" 
Subject: First bird of the millennium

Oh yes Jack?
I thought your Flat Earth Society membership had expired?  ;-)

My first this century was of course a good old British Robin
Bill... :-)

From: mark_etheridge

> Jack Harrison wrote...
> > I'll look up my log for twelve months ago:-)

The Bill predictably wrote
> Oh yes Jack?
> I thought your Flat Earth Society membership had expired?  ;-)

Like me, he's a lapsed member. We had to leave so that all the
pedant-millenniumists could join :-)

Glad to see you've caught up with the rest of us at long last, Bill.


And likewise, O exalted President
> My first this century was of course a good old British Robin

My first this year was a predictable offshore Herring Gull, followed
shortly afterwards by a not-so-predictable pair of late-migrating
Blackbirds heading in the direction of Fife!


From: "Barcud" 

First bird was Wood pigeon.  A pleasant walk round the fields and woods
locally produced the ususal suspects including 3 treecreepers, 3 marsh tits,
usual selection of gulls, (bh, c + lbb), lots of mipits, the odd skylark,
probably 20 or so goldcrests, 2 jays but nothing too exciting.  2 hares
running across the fields were good to see.  Jackdaws In the garden were
unusual - normally they simply sit on the roof but they were taking bites
out of apples this morning.

Happy New Year to all


From: "Steve Foster" 

"Andy Mabbett"  wrote ...
> >lots of mipits
> Meadow Pipits, or a typo?

Shrt Hnd, as in Andy Mbbtt for Andy Mabbett, or in the birding world, Mipits
for Meadow Pipits. :-)

From: "Mark Skevington" 

'Mipit' is one of those slang-type nicknames some birders have adopted for
certain birds (like Spotshank & LRP). What I want to know is this: if a
Meadow Pipit is a Mipit, is a Water Pipit a Whippet ;-))

Mark Skevington

From: Alastair Rae

And don't forget the Rockit.

From: "Bill Alexander" 

And of course the Trippet :-)
famously misidentified in the hand by yours truly as a Spotfly.
The moral of the story "do not sample home made aquavit before
Bill.....picturing C.Mead pulling a face.

From: "michael short" 

'mipit -'is a common diminutive for meadow pipit. Can't find Typo in my
field guide , could you describe it?

From: "Barcud" (

As I started this........ may I contribute pipit for Pechora pipit? -
Confusing or what.  I think it was on the Birdguide CD Rom that I saw
Richard's pipit captioned as Dick's pipit.  Now there's endorsement for
'slang' for you.


PS I think Typo was a typo for Tyto.

From: John Wilson 

Typo alba = bran owl .... :-)))

From: Alastair Rae

Normally seen hunting over roughage pasture?

From: "Bill Alexander" 

You must have been looking through fibre optics.

Subject: Re: The Twitches of Onyerwick
Date: Sat, 06 Jan 2001 

Phil wrote:

[Snip yet another Bill Alexander "moment"]
> >
> If someone hadn't already done so, this would be an appropriate moment
> to invent something along the lines of... a club for birders who are
> turning a bit senile. Now what could we call it...???

BTO - Brain Traumatised Ornithologists?
RSPB - Rarely Sentient Pensionable Birders?
SOC - Severely Overthehill Club?
BILL - Birders Identifying Linnets Lethargically?
TWITCH - The Weirdoes In The Club of Halfwits?
DUDES - Definitely Unusual Denizens of Eastern Scotland (the local
branch of whatever we decide to call it for Bill and myself).

I could go on... but doubtless someone else will have a go.

From: Ann Barker
Date: 06 Jan 2001

Ok then....
BOU - Blissfully Ornithologically Underaware 
WWT - Where am I, What am I doing, Tell me please
SCOT - Sagacity-Challenged Ornithology Troupe OR Some Crusty Old Twitchers

Ann (longtime card-carrying member of all of the above)

From: Andy Mabbett 

u.r.b - useless retired birders

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 
From: Chris Mead 

The message from  "Andy Harmer" contains these words: 

> Video footage that showed six bright lights zipping around at phenomenal
> speeds in the night sky, was explained away by an astronomer as being white
> fronted geese. I normally think the UFO 'crowd' are the nutty ones but this
> astronomer took the biscuit.

> Andy
> Planet Earth

White-fronted Geese have been equipped by GAGFART (Gloucester 
Assisted Goose Flight Aerial Research Team) with a specially enhanced 
gut flora which enables them to digest GM beet tops in record time.  
Unfortunately the GM neet has a jellyfich gene in it which causes 
bright luminescence in the over-bill white marks.  Reasonable 
suggestion from astrologer.

From: Andy Mabbett 
Subject: orniphilately
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 

I'm surprised not to have seen this excellent web site mentioned before;
pictures of every postage stamp showing a bird, ever (or so it seems),
sorted by species or country of issue:

From: Jack Harrison 
Subject: Re: orniphilately

Andy - you surpassed all previous postings with this wonderful word.  
I can obviously guess what it means, but did you coin it yourself?

From: "Bill Alexander" 
Subject: Re: orniphilately

I think that is orni-numismatology, but it does have Andy's stamp all over
it :-)

From: "Kevin Heath" 
Subject: Seagull administrator?
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 

BTCV are currently running an advert on their web site for a seagull

My question is how would you administer a seagull and why would you want to?

From: "Liz S." 

...and what's a seagull??

From: Stephen Poley

Larus marinus, of course.

From: "Liz S." 

Ah, I see, but I can't find it in my Ladybird Guide   :o((

From: Mike Crowe 

BUT, they may be Male, so therefore,,,,,,,,, :-((

From: "Liz S." 

Damn!  I though I was possibly looking in the wrong place after all.  Only
problem now is I have lost my Gentlemanbird Guide.....:o((

From: mark_etheridge
Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001

It is with deep regret that I must advise readers of ukrb that one
of our newest contributors sadly passed away at midday today.

Edith Germrake was an outstanding woman in her field, which was
next to the B1561 (just past the Three Hens pub), and which had not
yet been affected by F&M. 

Edith had only made one posting to the group, but I am sure she had
been looking forward to sharing her insights on birding, cookery, crochet,
nuclear physics and Thai kick boxing - there was no start to her talents.

It is unfortunate that she mistook the unexploded land-mine for an eagle
owl and decided to take a closer look. Now she will just be part of the
scenery - indeed the blast radius streches for several miles in each 
direction. She leaves behind a damaged telescope and smoking

It is a pity that one of the last messages she read in this group accused
her of being a cross dresser - I hope the perpetrator has the decency to
hang his head in shame. We shall not see her like again.


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