Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I was watching a ring ousel this afternoon on the shingle at Sowden End. It might have been a blackbird for all the fun it was, but it wasn't. It was a ring ousel and the female of the species. She was coming and going and feeding on the sandhoppers in the seaweed there. I was familiar with ring ousels in my youth when I lived and worked in the Lake District but had never seen one here on the Estuary before. It was a 'what's a bird like you doing in a joint like this?' experience.

The ring ousels have white gorgettes, which is what officer cadets have. Generals have red ones. The connection is that the 'tabs' of the military are the skeuomorphic suspenders of the crescent shaped throat armour that is properly the 'gorgette'. Anyway the whitish patch on the ring ousel's throat is the very same shape as this last worn chunk of plate armour. I suppose one might define a ring ousel as a blackbird that has winged its way through the Regular Commissions Board.

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