The most popular search terms that bring unwitting Interwebshire hikers to the gates of Hooting Yard remain bees, Googie Withers, and lobster diagram, but I was pleased to note a new entrant yesterday. Two people arrived here after typing in moorhen appreciation society. Well, we know all about moorhens here, and we appreciate them too, so I trust the visiting hikers went away suitably gleeful. Meanwhile, pursuing my own researches, I discovered the existence of the Moorhen Appreciation Society on Facebook Facecloth. I was charmed, to say the least, by its single item of “news”, which is “I saw a moorhen this morning”. I cannot say the same for myself, alas, though I did spot a few squirrels, one of which was carrying, in its squirrel-jaws, the shredded remains of a Mars Bar wrapper.
I am fairly sure that Dobson was at one time a member of his local Moorhen Appreciation Society. The out of print pamphleteer joined it for reasons we can only guess at, for as we know the space in the human brain devoted to ornithological matters was in Dobson’s case either utterly vacant or so clogged up the synapses misfired. He was forced to resign his membership when it became clear that he could not tell the difference between a moorhen and a heron, and embroiled the Society in legal entanglements in the bird courts. His pamphlet Well, They Both Have Beaks And Feathers, For Christ’s Sake! (out of print) recounts the whole sorry saga, though it is quite an exasperating read for those of us who are more engaged with the avian world than Dobson was.