Sunday, 1 November 2009

Pretty Flamingo?

Do you remember that Manfred Mann song? From 1966?

“When she moves she walks so fine like a flamingo…When she walks by she brightens up the neighbourhood…”

Of course, not everyone sees them like that. Apparently there is no evidence that Lewis Carroll did recreational drugs but having Alice play croquet with a live flamingo as a mallet (and hedgehogs as the balls) shows that at the very least he had a particularly creative mind. It seems clear that he thought flamingos to be a somewhat comical species and regarded them as figures of fun. For him they obviously didn't bring to mind a girl who was "out of reach and out of sight".

There are not many surreal laughs of the Alice in Wonderland kind in the Concise Birds of the Western Palearctic and here the description of Greater Flamingo uses the words ‘graceful’ and ‘grotesque’ in the same sentence. Grotesque might just be taking things a bit far but you can see where they were coming from.

Here in Tavira now we've got hundreds of Greater Flamingos. They're here for the winter and they make a fine sight, particularly in flight when seen against a clear blue sky.

Back in 1979 a pop group called The Monks were one-hit wonders with a song that wasn’t about flamingos at all but which we reckon summed them up nicely. It was called Nice Legs Shame About The Face!

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