Or Woodland?  Woodland or Mottled? Is this the money shot for the iD?

a grasshopper doing I don't bloody know

That’s another bug post dear reader.  Tomorrow I think that I shall focus on clover.  Exciting, huh?


oak bush city limits

oak bush-cricket doing Meconema thallassinum


Pun-tastic!  Because, right, it’s an oak bush cricket and I live in the city and this is at the limits of what your humour can endure?  Anyway it was found in the bathroom and released into the wild where it posed for the camera. Another stunning bug i-d in the bag.  Evidently this is a male because it hasn’t got an ovipositor but does have long and curved cerci.  No really.  So there is another first, not only have I identified a bug but I have sexed it too. 

(Look, I know this is supposed to be a bird blog, but it is August ok?  This was going to be a post about seeing Swifts this morning over the garden and it kind of morphed into something else.  Ho hum.)


more on the buses

Another garden butterfly tick, hot on the heels of the ringlet, but this is a Holly Blue, perhaps a female [Insert observation regarding repeated use of bus analogy here].


butterfly doing quite smart actually

garden tick

Ringlet methinks…

butterfly doing tatty

ded yoo hare it?

Behold the dramatisation of  conversations taking place in a ‘normal’ suburban street recently.

Mrs Thing (for it is she) “Darling, I was convinced that I heard a Cuckoo Cuculus canorus canorus in Mousehold Heath the other morning.  This pleased me, but my thoughts quickly turned to you.   Bearing in mind that in the many years you have lived around here and the many hours you have spent observing wildlife in this Heath area, you have not heard or seen a Cuckoo and do not have it on your garden list or for that matter your silly Norwich list nevermind your woeful year list; do you think it likely that I am correct in my identification?  For the Cuckoo does have quite a distinctive call does it not my dear?”

Thing (for it is he) “Dearest, it is true that this species of bird is not on the two lists of mine that you mention but this does not preclude the species occurring in the environ.  For your information, in the classified section of the Norfolk Bird Report between 1966 and 1987 there is hardly a mention of the Cuckoo (disregarding the spurious record of 300 on Acle New Road in 1983 that was subsequently withdrawn) and in the latest edition (2009) the entry is more substantial but it doesn’t specifically mention Mousehold Heath.  Furthermore, in the Norfolk Bird Atlas (Kelly, 1986) the Cuckoo is widespread throughout the county in non-urban areas during migration but breeding is much more localised but looking at the map, it would not rule out the chance encounter in Mousehold.  Unfortunately I cannot cross-reference with the latest Norfolk bird atlas because it is, although excellent, really ruddy expensive.  In conclusion, your record of the Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus canorus, although quite exceptional, is not impossible.  Of course, as I didn’t hear it I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the record, but admit that not much else sounds like a Cuckoo and you have been well-trained.

Mrs Thing “How wonderful.  In that case my dear, I maintain that I heard said species and will speak of it no more.  Before I finish though, I believe that in these circumstances (a garden mega I think you would call it) it is obligatory for me to swear loudly and say ‘get in’.”

Thing “Indeed.  Harrumph”

Days pass.  The mega is not mentioned again.  Mrs Thing visits a neighbour, an elderly local woman who is not unused to the country and it’s ways and knows some things about this and that.  The conversation moves away from a discussion on the mores of the local bandits, to natural history.

Brenda (the elderly local woman) “Wun lump orr too moi woomun?”

Mrs Thing (for it is she) “Just one thanking you, I don’t like my Earl Grey too sweet, what?”

Brenda (the elderly local woman) “O’roit moi woomun.  Tell yu whaaaa – ded yu hare that cuck-goo the other morrnun?”

Mrs Thing (behind a wistful smile) “Indeed I did Brenda, indeed I did…………..”

And so it came to pass, that Mrs Thing had independent verification that a Cuckoo was heard in Mousehold Heath from her garden.  Something that her husband (that’ll be me then) has not seen or heard anywhere near here in the last thirty years.  He is thus ‘gripped off’ in the parlance of the birdwatcher.  Mrs Thing is ‘quite pleased’ in the parlance of the normal human.

Bugger it.

number 73

Peregine has been added to the Norwich list with a visit to the Cathedral yesterday where cracking views were to be had.  I thought I might have had another tick on this list last weekend when I saw a Rook nervously hanging around Plumstead Road.  It wasn’t a tick but it was the first I’ve seen in Norwich for a while.

Have a picture from the patch.  Nelson’s Column.  Yarmouth stylee – cos he was a Norfolk boiii you see.  It is topped with Britannia, but she doesn’t  look to sea rather to the place of his birth which is miles away. 

nelson doing column


Noted above the garden this morning…

norwich’n list

That doesn’t work does it?

Anyhow, the Lister Demon struck again Dear Reader, and I have given in to his evil listing temptations.  I had pondered the fact that I’ll soon be seeing the Peregrines at the Cathedral and that it would be a nice tick.  Yes it would, but a tick on which list exactly?  Not the Norfolk list as Peregrine already resides there.  Nor the year list, as I’ve seen them on the patch this year and manifestly not the patch list as it is 30 odd miles away.  So I cannot put the Peregrines on a list because there is no list to put them on! 


Unless of course I start another list!  BINGO!  If I cobble together a Norwich list, then I can add the Peregrines to that list.  So there we have it.  I have started a list so that I can add a bird to it that I haven’t seen yet.  My logic is quite simply stunning don’t you think?

To quantify – it’s quite simply a list of birds I have seen in Norwich.  For the purposes of this list, I have included only the birds seen or heard within the ring road.  So places like Whitlingham and Costessy Pits are out, but Dolphin Bridge and Mousehold are in.

There is a pagetabthingy up the top.  I’ll update it in time.  And yes, Pied Flycatcher and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker are not usual round here, but they were seen a long time ago…

Have a picture.  It was not taken in Norwich.

a skylark at runton not being a wheatear

garden porn

So then, dear reader, it is almost warm enough for it to be classified as spring.  Migrants are arriving at our shores.  Even those fictional beasts known as Hoopoes.  There is a mild southerly wind coming from the continent which will quite possibly bring summery birds with it.  There are still wintery birds around the fringes of this fair county.  What is a patch birder to do?


Get in!

The following species could be seen doing spring like activity during the day (singing, fighting, poking about in holes – that kind of thing).


Great Spotted Woodpecker

Finches, Gold and Green

Tits, Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Coal



Pigeons and doves


The frogs have been ‘at it’ for about two weeks now in the pond, but their inhibitions and shyness have gone and rather than disappear into the depths of the pond when humans are near they now have a reckless abandon verging on the exhibitionist.  The fecundity on display today could easily described as amphibian hardcore.

Here are some photographic images from the day.


mrs thing referred to this as 'the money shot'


always one knocking about


about time!

I can now get rid of my self titled moniker of The Only Birder In The UK Not To Have Seen Waxwings This Winter, when I eventually connected with them in the place where I first did many moons ago – click on this old link to read more.

There are few words that can be added to the volumes that have been written this winter, or any photographs of this most photogenic of birds that can add to the quality out there, other than the fact that this photo is mine, and therefore my favourite – and I am fully aware of it’s technical shorfallings.

Waxwings rule.  Fact. 

Waxwings that you have been seeking out for months but fail to see but then find 55 in one spot rule just that bid more.  I fucking love ’em.

waxwings doing truly brilliant

holy hawks!

 As seen by many people in the local press, a ledge has been put up on the spire of Norwich Cathedral to encourage some Peregrines to hang about, nest and breed.  The Hawk and Owl trust have been involved and I understand that there will be big tellies in the visitor centre and everything.  Bravo say I – plenty of fun to be had there over the summer.  So impressed was I that I stole a picture from the local press for your delectation.

peregrines doing norwich cathedral


Of course, the Cathedral being but a  couple of minutes from Chez Thing as the Peregrine soars,  my first thought was that there could be a garden tick on the way when they find the inhabitants of the local pigeon loft.  Kerching!