The mainstream media seem to be missing the important details in many of the expenses claim stories that are being published. They continue to be ignorant to the lure birding has and how it has driven many of our MP's to ever more complicated scams to improve their British Lists. Latest to be outed was Tory MP Sir Peter Viggers who spent 1645 of our pounds on a "Stockholm Duck House".
According to the Telegraph "The floating structure, which is almost 5ft high and is designed to provide protection for the birds, is based on an 18th-century building in Sweden. The receipt, from a firm specialising in bird pavilions, said: “Price includes three anchor blocks, duck house and island.”
All well and good, but what the Telegraph didn't tell you was the motivation. We can exclusively reveal that Viggers was gripped by one one of his birding pals who managed to see the Newbiggin Hooded Merganser a few years back. Furious at this and unable to wait for the next HM to arrive he decided to create his own HM sanctuary and build a self sustaining free flying population that would allow him to get that tick. I'm sure that most of you who perhaps thought him a touch extravagant can now sympathise with his plight? Which of us haven't felt the pain of a missed bird, a yawning chasm of a gap on our list every time we look at it? Every birder up and down the land must now see it was only his desire to cast an eye over another beautiful and rare vagrant that led to this minor error of judgement. Should he be forced to retire? Perhaps compensation that he will have plenty of time to look for teh next Hooded Merganser will offer some consolation.