random observations

There were half a dozen Waxwings on Riverside Road yesterday.  Might have been the only person to have noticed.  I was in a queue of traffic, looking for Peregrines.

The patch was consistently constant, and devoid of migrants last week.  An Eider, a Common Scoter.  Gulls.  Not much else.

Actually, if you ask me – everywhere is devoid of migrants up to now.

I though I saw a Treecreeper from the Garden this morning.  Not like that funny one in Suffolk.  It has shorter toes than normal evidently.  Honestly, I think birders make these things up.

Referring to a Ring Ouzel as a ‘Rouzel’ is annoying.

Quelea.  I always had it in my head that it was kway-lee-ah, but Attenborough pronounced it kwee-lee-ah on the tellybox last night.  If he says it is kwee-lee-ah then that’s what it is.

Have an iffy picture of some birds in mostly winter plumage.

plovers doing by the sea


I’m off into the garden to listen for Chiffchaff.

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

where are they?

Although not in a position to be actively birding this weekend, my inquisitive nature still impels me to check out birdguides to see what is about.  It seems that there are hardly any birds of note in Norfolk at all (barring geese, an orange harrier and waxwings).  Which is a bit odd.  There was an alert for a Med in Yarmouth, which is about as useful as a heads up for Avocets at Havergate.  Foreigners, obviously.

Not taken in Yarmouth but taken in Norfolk.  Reasonably on topic.

a twitch

You may think that this is going to detail a recent field excursion to see a rare bird, but no.  Quite the opposite.

Today (dependent on the weather I guess as there is a fair bit of the white stuff about) I may well take Mrs Thing Waxwing hunting.  I have a fair idea of where they have been recently and have had the good fortune to stumble across them in this area before, and it is in that area that I went on my first twitch.   Now,  I can count the number of dirty-filthy-twitcherings that I have gone to by only using my digits.  I may have some birds on my list that would cause people to twitch but many are there because I went to reserves with fingers crossed.  Largely waders, and largely in north Norfolk.  But that’s how it goes.  My first proper twitch was for a Waxwing, which is why this memory comes to mind.  Let me tell you a little story…

My friend Mark and I (he claimed to have seen a Lesser Kestrel but hadn’t) did a bit of voluntary work for the RSPB.  On a particular day we went to help out in the local (Norwich) office (when it was in Bethel Street) – this is in the 80’s don’t you know.  In those days the chaps in charge were Tony Prater and Chris Durdin.  Tony Prater co-wrote a book called Shorebirds, which is jolly good indeed.   Chris Durdin runs a birding tour company (or something like that).  I digress.  When we got there we were informed that there was a couple of Waxwings eating Rowan berries in the car park behind the Granville Saddelry.  Unless you know where that was, it is meaningless now as it doesn’t exist anymore. 



We had only seen them in books, and new that they were pretty classy looking birds so decided to sod the volling, and got back on our bikes to head for Stafford Street (probably after getting permission from home in all likelihood).  There was of course, nothing to see and nobody there.  Apart from an empty tree.  We hung around for a bit and nothing turned up.  Just as we decided that it was time to go (mums, dinners, etc) they flew into the tree.  Smiles, wows and a fair bit of ‘brilliant!.  First twitch, and mighty succesful.

My last twitch was for a Waxwing.  In Finchley of all places.  And it was this year.  I don’t need them on any list that I keep (apart from Patches of course).  So why go and look for them? To paraphrase Louis Armstrong – if you have to ask what a Waxwing is…