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…


year tick, gurgle

Some recent year ticks.

Blackcap (I can hear it singing as I type)

Chiffchaff (ditto)

Willow Warbler

Red Grouse

Sand Martin

Stock Dove

Reasonably predictable you might think.  The astute reader will be wondering exactly what Norfolk heather moorland I saw the Red Grouse on.  I didn’t.  The even more astute reader will put two and two together, apply Occam’s Razor, and realise that I left Norfolk.  Which I did.  The Grouse in question was seen just south of a place called Penistone.

I repeat, just south of a place called Penistone.

I suspect that the locals pronounce it T’ Pennistun, and no childish giggles would ensue upon reference to said village.  Not in my car.  It was Penis-tone.  And said, just like that, everytime a sign was passed with Penis. Tone. written on it.  Childish I know.

Penis.  Tone.

penistone. gurgle!


I’m tempted to move there.

more randoms

Halo was incorrect, as it was probably a circumzenithal arc.  Which I reckon is pretty cool.

And that Eagle, right, must have flown through my patch.  AND I chose not to journey to work via Filby on the day that a WTE wakes up and has a look around in that area at the time that I would have been going through.  Something about a chap called sod, a law, and a very rude word comes to mind.

I didn’t get a Sand Martin on the half-heartedly predicted day, but I did get a Swallow which was simply beautiful.  And then another on Monday.  Not a magic blog perhaps, but just a magic patch perhaps.  Which is fine by me.  We’ll see.

On Saturday and Sunday the pond in the garden had been taken over by rutting water snails (spp).  As each one moved about on top of the weed, it let out a little pop.  Pond pop corn.  Great fun.

I did see Sand Martins at the weekend however, at Runton.  I could do nothing but stare and smile while they farted.

I’m not telling anyone how great Runton is.

A mammoth fell out of the cliffs once.  It was quite dead, but quite large.

Stuff still falls out of the cliffs and the cliffs still fall.  I’ll put a picture up of the beach.  It isn’t as good as it looks, no siree.  And you should make no effort to go there, as you will not like it.

Haven’t seen any patch Wheaters since first contact although I am receiving reports that they continue to move through.  That also, is fine by me.

You have had over a hundred posts of this nonsense now.

runton doing just fine thank you very much

third time lucky?

Well, dear reader, you come here with bated breath.  Your heart rate rising at the possibility that you are a regular visitor to what might possibly be a blog with magic properties (posts passim for newcomers) the likes of which only exist in fiction.  How exciting is this all!


Osprey then.  Big bird, all brown and white and stuff.  Likes fish.  Can be seen in this area on it’s way from Africa to Scotland.  Being seen ‘oop’ north  already.  And in Scotland too.  Has to pass through the south to do that.  Big, white, brown.  Likes to perch on tall things. 

Hey presto and abracadabra!

I give you – Osprey!

You’re not buying it are you?

Nope, nor me.

I knew I should have said Black Redstart…

Yarmouth.  It’s sure purdy ain’ it?

Anyway, enough of all this nonsense, I’ve got a patch to watch.

And I’m off to go and see Sand Martins…

what next then?

Allow me to recap.  On two recent posts I have finished with a particularly styled sentence in which I detailed the location and the species of bird that I hoped to see and then had this come true within 20 minutes (just scroll down if you have missed this soon to be televised adventure).  I have quite bizarrely claimed that this is due to the blog having magic properties, which we knew was nonsense before the second incident didn’t we dear reader?  Oh yea of little faith… 

So what do I do today? 

I don’t really have a choice do I?  I have to make another prediction.  I have to either put this entire episode into blogging history as a mildly amusing diversion as the prediction fails to materialise.  Or, have another prediction come true, stoking the fires of incredulity, and then say lots of very rude words on the interweb due to a certain lack of self control because the blog really is magic.

So for the third (and let’s be honest, probably the final) time, and without resort to a banker….

I’m off into the patch to see an Osprey.

guess what?

It only went and bloody worked! 


a wheatear doing perching on a wall in yarmouth


Not just one – there were three bloody wheatears bombing round the patch this lunchtime!  Just after I’d supermagicallyrealisticallypredicted the same!

Holy COW!

magic realist birding

On Sunday, the post what I put on here ended with an optimistic flourish along the lines that I was going to hear a Chiffchaff in the garden, and almost immediately.  Within minutes this did in fact, occur.  Brilliant – first migrant of the year  (and six days later than last year fact fans!).  So, dear reader, I am going to try the same trick again at the end of the post to see if it works again.  Not for a Chiffchaff, not in the garden.  For a patch bird, in the patch.

But what if it works again?  What if it turns out that flippant predictions at the end of a random post on my blog effects the space-time continuum and the ornithological predictions come true?  What would I do then?  Keep making predictions?  Haul in some right old rare birds to the patch on a daily basis?  Experiment with effects beyond the scope of the blog?  It could be the plot of some fanciful magic-realist bestselling novel.  Hell – I could syndicate the rights to HBO and have it made into a rubbish series stateside where a man with incredible  hair writes a blog that affects the real world and then has naff adventures that only last an hour (with adverts) with just enough time for a little sanctimonious preaching about how we all need to help each other more before the titles roll up at Mach 2.  Wow, it would be like getting tomorrow’s paper today!  How amazing would that be?

That’s been done hasn’t it.  Damnit.  I thought I was onto something there. 

Truth is that there hasn’t been much magic round here of late.  Nor was all that very realistic.  But I don’t know if I don’t try! So here goes….

I’m off into the patch to find a Wheatear.

another patch tick!

Hard to get, but it still counts – I was walking along the road this morning and I could hear a Wren singing it’s little troglodyean heart out.  Lovely. 

No migrants yet.  Which is mildly annoying.

Nor is there a picture of a Wren that I have to offer you.  They’re like, so fast and everything.  And like, small?

Weather was been a bit rough yesterday mind you…

beach doing rough


sea doing rough

ditto, sort of

The intention tonight was to refill the i-pod with the specific intention of removing an unnecessary amount of Jerry Lee Lewis and an extended 12″ megamix of a Spandau Ballet number that could only have been stuck on my i-tunes by Satan himself, and then create an amazing bird related post on here (as per yesterday).  But the same personal circumstances have thwarted me again.

However, suffice to say this.  3 Grey Plover over at lunchtime.  Year tick. Page updated.  Yay.

Winter birds still rule in Yarmouth.

what you would have gotten

There was going to be a post here today of such side-splitting wit and hilarity that you, dear reader, would not help but read it again.  There was going to be stunning photography of super rare migrant birds along with incredible insights into the psyche of the modern patch birder.  However, after spending over eight hours staring at an illuminated screen to the exclusion of all other life in the western palearctic and bashing the keyboard in front of it at superhuman speed, and destroying three mice in the process, just to produce very many similar looking documents,  I can take no more.  So the entry for today reads thus.

Male Common Scoter on the sea at lunchtime.  Patch year tick.  Page updated.  Yay.

The post you would have gotten will probably have escaped me by tomorrow.

patch stuff and nonsense

It’s beginning to pick up a bit.  But the birds are very much of the winter variety, and the longed for migrants have yet to show their face.  Yesterday produced a pair of Teal on the beach, while today produced a couple of Oystercatchers and three Sanderling, which you can see from this image still have their winter coats on.

sanderlings not doing spring

Having studied the prevailing pressure charts for the next few days, I can now firmly state that the first summer migrant will arrive on my patch on Thursday and it will be a Sand Martin.  Or a Wheatear.  Or an Osprey.  Or another species.  But it will be on Friday, that much is sure.

In anticipation of this momentous event, I have produced a new page for your perusal dear reader.  It is the patch list for 2010. 

I can feel the excitement oozing through the screen.  Oh yes I can.

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

answers to some questions…

Questions have been asked on this here blog and mainly by yours truly, but I am aware Dear reader, that definitive answers have not been forthcoming.  So for the sake of completion and to ensure that regular reader of this blog is not driven to the very edge of insanity with the lack of closure, here is closure.

The spider – it’s a lace weaver actually, and for those of a scientific bent it is from the Amaurobius family.  It isn’t at all rare, even on a beach.  Which is fairly typical.

The tracks on the beach were of a Seal. Pretty obvious really I suppose.  But then again, if I was trying to cover up the fact that I had dragged from the waters edge the recently deceased body of a dogwalker that lets his dog shite all over the dunes  then I would, obviously, present it to the world as a seal track as an ingenious double bluff.  Wouldn’t I? [insert evil-genious-mastermind-laugh here]

No, the Rock Pipit photos are hardly worth the bother but it was, nicely, a Norfolk tick which brings that particular list to 198. This fact is not reflected in the list accessed via the tab at the top of the page as it is not as up to date as it should be.  It will be eventually be made accurate though, especially when the list gets one or two closer to the double ton…

The patch year list is now at a stunning 28.

Finally, whilst the massed hordes of the twitcherers have been going bonkers for their last day of being able to see a funny looking dove in Chipping Norton, I have gained much satisfaction from seeing small birds in trees nearby my house that I hadn’t seen this year already.  Treecreeper, Brambling, Redpolls of the lesser variety.  That kind of thing.

Enough words, yes?

Picture, anyone?

West Runton doing sundown

year tick

Lunchtime brought a female Blackbird on to the patch year list.  Yes, nearly two months in and that is my first thrush. Not at all common round here don’t you know.  Remember that in all the time I’ve spent on this patch, I can count my Robins on one hand, and have yet to see a Dunnock or a Wren.  Which still feels a bit strange.

Anyhow, with the migration season about to begin in earnest I’m expecting the passerine count to rise considerably but wouldn’t be surprised if the rarer species out number the common, but we’ll see.  Either way, I’m not getting my hopes up on the Wren.