I went for a walk on the moors on Saturday (photos here). It was extremely wet.
On my way down, I spotted between 40 and 50 fieldfares gathered in the gloaming on some powerlines. A couple of other walkers spotted me looking at the birds and came over to ask me what they were. I explained that they were fieldfares. They asked me what I knew about them.
As luck would have it, I had listened to a podcast about fieldfares earlier that week, so I knew quite a bit about them. So I told the walkers about how fieldfares come over from Scandinavia in the winter, how they have a distinctive call (which a few of the birds immediately obliged me by demonstrating), how they hang around with redwings, how they have a distinctive grey hood, blah, blah, blah… My new friends seemed very impressed with my vast knowledge of all things fieldfare.
"So why are they called fieldfares?" asked the woman (who I couldn't help noticing was rather cute). It was a fair enough question. Unfortunately, I hadn't a clue what the answer was. But I was on a roll, so I made one up:
"Ah!" I ahed. "It's because they are 'fare' (food) which is found in fields. Our ancestors used to eat them. Quite tasty, by all accounts. They're a type of thrush, just like blackbirds… 'Four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie' and all that!"
OK, so I bullshat for Britain. But I had a new-found reputation to live up to.