Vera Lynn

To: "'Geoffrey Dabb'" <>, <>
Subject: Vera Lynn
From: "Shaun Bagley" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 21:52:27 +1000



With the greatest respect (as a lawyer you should know that what follows will be critical...and I think you already know what I am going to say), the “bluebirds” referred to in Vera Lynn’s tribute were the airmen who wore blue uniforms as they went out and sometimes back over the chalk cliffs of Dover in Great Britain’s defence. Many of them were in the USAF who would have been familiar with the Eastern or Western Bluebird, perhaps even the Mountain Bluebird of the Rockies, in the U.S.


And I also take issue with Mark Cocker’s observation. While I might agree that the rarities are wind-blown, disoriented etc. their appearance is of importance because it may herald the introduction of a new species in a geographic area.  It only takes two after all. The effects of time have caused movements in species that must have had some initial impetus which was not expected.  Here in Australia we have witnessed arrival of species in areas that we say is influenced by changes in weather patterns. Why would that not be the same in the Atlantic where the great geographic influence is the Gulf Stream that flows from N. America to the West Coast of Ireland?




Shaun Bagley


PS: Vera Lynn’s voice used to bring tears to my parent’s eyes. As a child of the sixties, Joe Cocker can do that for me...


From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Monday, 31 August 2009 7:34 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Vera Lynn


The news this morning that Vera Lynn’s “Greatest Hits” release has made her – at 92 – the oldest person to have a disc in the Top Whatever, brought to mind what will surely be an inclusion, her rendering of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ from circa 1944.  The point I would have been prompted to make here is the improbability of ‘bluebirds’ appearing over the aforementioned cliffs.  However, I find I am anticipated by Wikipedia, which has already made the same point, in  the terms that ‘there are no bluebirds in Britain;  they are an American species’.  What Wikipedia may have overlooked is the remarkable number of transatlantic passerines that have been recorded in recent years on British shores.  The prospect of bluebirds is something to bring Bill Oddie and Mark Cocker to the cliff-tops, particularly as this seems to be a once in a lifetime event when at least 2 bluebirds, quite possibly more, are going to appear.  The prediction that they will appear TOMORROW makes it even more remarkable.  One should, however, temper one’s excitement by recalling Mr Cocker’s advice that such rarities, although welcome fodder to the ticker, are disoriented, wind-blown vagrants whose detection is of little value to science.  

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