one more

Blakeney Harbour in the distance…

sky doing again


Click on it, it’s better big.
I’ll stop all this sky stuff now.

cley sky

The best bit of Cley, or any part of the coast yesterday afternoon was the sky…

boats and sky doing cliche


Those little things that adults look after and take to beaches, pets I think they are – not dogs but those noisy two-legged ones.  Scream a lot.  Run around a lot.  Scare birds.  They have all returned to their institutions this week, yes?  Leaving the world for the non-children loving adults.  Children – that’s what they are called – they are the ones!  Well I’ve stayed out of their way during their holiday so that some curmudgeonly old duffer doesn’t scowl at them and set the waterworks off again and now it’s my time hehehe…

To recap, the previous two weeks have been sunny and all that with low winds, high temperatures and generally undemanding weather for migrants, so they can all come and go as they please.  But now that it is my time, it’s the end of April the temperature has dropped the wind has turned and is now blowing directly, and with reasonable strength, directly onto the Norfolk coast.  How very convenient, it is almost as if it was part of my master plan for good spring birding! He he he!

So with all this going my way, it might well be time to venture out to those windswept cliffs and dunes and soak up all this migratory magnificence.  Year ticks too.

And I hear there are Spoonbills at Cley.  Sleeping of course, but worth a little effort, yes?And no children…



There is a temptation in the Thing household this weekend to go for a cheeky twitch amongst the other stuff that has to be done that I won’t bore you with, and the question arises as to what and where and/or if.  Being rather risk averse in these matters (i.e. we will not be chartering planes on the offchance of seeing a funny looking warbler on Fair Isle should it appear) the bird will need to be reasonably local and easier to find than a Waxwing somewhere off the Dereham Road ffs.  The easy/obvious choices (for those that follow Birdguides – other rare bird services are available) are Northern Harrier at Thornham, American Wigeon at Salthouse/Cley or Iceland Gull at Loowstuf’.  Thornham is like miles away right, so maybe not.  The Iceland Gull (which I recently described to Mrs Thing as an obscenity-great-big-dirty-med) is not a bad call and the American Wigeon should be dead easy but maybe too easy?  You see I have an objection to this bird dear reader, and don’t really want to go for it (here he goes again you say) even though I have never seen an American Wigeon and everyone likes ducks right?

Stick with it, there is some half cocked reasoning in here which makes a fair bit of sense to me.

Right then, there is a field in north Norfolk that is full of Brent Geese, which are evidently wild.  If you look into this field you will also find that there are lots of Wigeon, which are evidently wild.  If you look a bit more about this field you will find that there are often Barnacle Geese, a Ross’s Goose and if you are particularly unlucky a Barnacle x Canada cross (yuk!) and all of these birds are  manifestly not wild.  You still here?  Now, I have in the past witnessed the tendency of escaped wildfowl to tow along with an evidently wild bird.  In fact I once wrote a paper blogpost about it.  My entire thesis argument is neatly summarised in this here photo.

Wood Ducks following a Wigeon
So there is, right, this field full of wildfowl that is largely wild with a fair old dollop of acknowledged escapees and then all of a sudden another bird appears (the American Wigeon no less) in the same field and it’s automatically assumed to be a genuine vagrant.  Whoa!  Hold on Mr Twitcher and get yer thinking hat on.  Let’s get out the armchair philosophers favourite tool, Occams Razor (I can hear the groans already – or is it the snores?) and the simplest argument is more likely to hold the truth.  Reason dictates that the American Wigeon is an escape that has latched onto the big flock of wild Wigeon that are with the wild Geese that are all being haunted by some wannabe wild-bird-escapees.  Simple innit?  The new bird, as far as I am concerned, has no more value than the Ross’s Goose that I banged on about a couple of days ago.  Obviously if the new Wigeon is photo’d with a ring on it stating Made In Idaho, I’ll be right up there, no questions asked.  But I doubt it.
Reckon oil goo loowstuff than.
Oh, and if you really are still reading this and wondering what on gawds earth the title has to do with anything that follows, it’s cockernee innit.  Sceptic Tank – Yank.  Geddit?

this week…

…I will largely be in Norfolk.  It might give me a chance to blog something relatively recent on here.  Won’t that be nice.  In the meantime, here is a picture taken in Norfolk.


stag party

A quick visit to Cley on Sunday was mostly notable for the number of Triumph Stags in the car park, rather than the birds that I didn’t end up watching.  I thought the registration on the yellow one quite apposite considering the location…

After lusting after that lot, I thought that I’d try and connect with the Hooded Crow in the eye field.  Not the most exciting of birds but it would have been a county tick.  Despite the fact that I was not the only chap looking for it, and that another chap had more gen on it, it couldn’t be seen during an admittedly fleeting visit.