CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Sue Limb: Feeding frenzy

PUBLISHED: 10:52 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:21 20 May 2014

When you set forth to explore the bird life of the Isle of Incognito, it’s probably best to have more than a modest bowl of muesli for breakfast

When you set forth to explore the bird life of the Isle of Incognito, it’s probably best to have more than a modest bowl of muesli for breakfast

Archant

Always remember, in May, to feed the birds. They’re rushed off their wings caring for fledglings. But when it comes to birds and feeding, I learned a much more vital lesson recently on a Caribbean island that shall be nameless. Let’s call it Incognito.

It’s unspoiled. There are hardly any awful burger joints, just rainforest, sea and birds. Our tasteful guesthouse deplored saturated fat, so it was after only a modest modicum of muesli that we set out to meet our birding guide, cheery and chubby Maurice Hawkogler. (I’ve changed his name. You’ll realise why.)

We met him at a bridge, where he showed us the Scintillating Kingfisher and Perkins’s Litigious Dipper (I’ve changed the names of the birds, but just for fun this time). The climax of our trip would, we hoped, be a glimpse of Fortinbras’s Gorgeous Parrot, which is only found up in the rainforest. We parked our car and transferred to Maurice’s jeep.

First he took us to the shore, where we admired the Brown Boobies (I ought to have changed the name of that bird, for obvious reasons, but it’s too late now.) Watching the seabirds dive for fish, I began to feel a little peckish myself. But luckily I found a whiskery old Werther’s Original in the bottom of my bag.

On previous birdwatching expeditions, a packed lunch had been provided. We had somehow failed to confirm this when booking with Maurice. But my spirits rose when he parked the jeep and bought a bag of baked plantains from a roadside stall. Plaintains are sort of huge bananas and boy, they smelt good! But to our consternation Maurice placed the bag on his knee and, as he drove up into the rainforest, he ate the bleedin’ lot. Being British, of course, we couldn’t bring ourselves to comment, let alone beg.

We walked through the rainforest. ‘Listen!’ said Maurice. ‘That’s the call of the Bearded Bellbird!’ But its cry was drowned by the rumbling of my stomach. Eventually the trip reached its climax. ‘Look!’ whispered Maurice, ‘there’s Fortinbras’s Gorgeous Parrot!’ We peered down his telescope imagining how gorgeous the parrots would taste, roasted with chips and peas.

Whilst we were salivating over the parrots, Maurice went to his jeep and got out a big plastic box. Hooray! Never mind the iconic parrot, we had finally glimpsed the endangered Tupperware. Imagine our distress when Maurice carried his box furtively a few yards away, opened it and tucked into chicken and rice in private. By now Maurice himself was looking decidedly tasty. In fact, I was wondering if I could manage to bite a large chunk out of his buttock without his noticing.

Eventually, after six hours, I was almost swooning with fatigue and never wanted to see another bloody bird as long as I lived. We waved Maurice goodbye and drove off at speed through miles of deserted wilderness. Why oh why was this island so damned unspoiled? Where were the burger joints? Faint with hunger, I would happily have eaten my own feet, but just I was unlacing my boots a small town appeared, equipped with a tawdry take-away. ‘Saturated fat!’ I screamed. ‘Please! Now!!’ Normally I wouldn’t be seen dead in a burger joint. But as I was nearly dead anyway, I dived in and ordered a cheeseburger and fries.

The cheese was plastic, the bun was cotton wool, and the burger was probably made out of an endangered parrot, but was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life.

So yes, feed the birds, but please get your priorities right. Feed the blinking birdwatchers, first.

-----------------------

This article by Sue Limb is from the May 2014 issue of Cotswold Life

For more from Sue Limb, follow her on Twitter: @sue_limb

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search