WHEN it comes to cock-ups, the policy here is straightforward: We hold our hands up, admit we were wrong, and apologise.

But I have to say a correction in the Birdwatch column is a rare sighting indeed.

Today's Birdwatch column, by the excellent Brian Unwin, begins thus: "Forget everything in last week's column." (A good start indeed.) It goes on: "It turns out a sick-minded hoaxer was responsible for the claim of a sooty or bridled tern at Derwent Reservoir."

Brian, in mitigation, explains that the claim was plausible by virtue of the fact that Britain had been blasted by the remains of Tropical Storm Katia.

But what is the world coming to when we not only have looters, tax cheats, benefit fraudsters and doorstep conmen, but ornithological hoodwinkers in our midst.

Sick-minded or bird-brained? It matters not. They are the lowest of the low, the bottom of the pecking order, and they should be ashamed.