how wordpress sells your soul

Do you use wordpress to blog?  Thought it a little less contentious than the ever-expanding  über information-hoarder that is google/blogger?  WordPress would have you think that is way cooler and on it’s front page it says “We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time“.  Free, maybe.  Priceless, I think not.

If you use wordpress you are inevitably, due to cookies, logged in if you view your blog or another blog on wordpress.    And if you are logged in to wordpress, there is a little detail that is kept from your delicate little eyes.  Adverts.

They are not so crass as to load the ads up on your home page, that would be a bit to obvious and you might spot it.  And you might object.  But if a non wordpress person views a  page individually (which is the normal route through words entered into a search engine), your new reader gets the ads at the bottom of the post.  I just spent 5 minutes with an old post and the F5 button and the following companies are advertising on my blog.

David Lloyd Leisure
Kuoni (who-oni?)
Specsavers (FFS!)
Churchill Insurance
Alpari (eh?)
Groupon (again)
Groupon (what the fuck is groupon anyway?) (they didn’t think that through did they?)
Tesco (natch)
Royal Caribbean International
Sky news.  No, really.
I suspect I could wear out the F5 button before the variety of ads stop. 
There am I, and quite possibly you too, having your service provider using your innocent little witterings to sell advertising space to  Rupert Murdoch  Satan.
You happy with that?  Because I’m not.
Don’t have a picture, but for once do have a splendid piece of musical architecture by The Aphex Twin which seems entirely apposite.  Do  yourself a favour, and turn the volume on and up.
Laters, yeah?

a tick that was years in the waiting

For years I have stared into the trees beyond my back gate.  Not just staring for the sake of it, well not usually.  Staring at trees, and staring at things that may be in trees or on trees or around trees or by trees.  Normally this will produce the normal things that you would expect around the trees that are also normally there (It’s not like the trees are migratory or anything – a tree with zugunruhe, that would be psychological torture!  If a tree could think of course). Anyway, once all the normal ticks had been put on the garden list it was obvious that there was one species missing.  And it has been missing from the list for a long time, despite the years of staring.  I’ve seen them around here before, on many occasions and some of those occasions were in the previous century and it always seemed that it would only be a matter of time before I saw one, but that time never came.

Until this morning when, during a period of staring, I saw one.  Shuffling up a tree.  Or perhaps more accurately, creeping.  A Treecreeper.  At long last, an inevitable garden tick.

Thank you trees.

magpies in the trees doing two for joy


Lists are updated, which is timely.  Despite the patch year being only eight days old, I have yet to see a Med.  This is a little embarrassing really.  But I remember the days that I would yearn for a Med on my patch.  These days I know that it inevitabubble, which is nice.

Have a picture of a suffolk gull.

a gull doing flying in the direction it didn't when the camera was in the case

lowestoft starlings

I’ve done this before, but it does no harm to have another image of this roost murmuration again.  But 2012 stylee.

starlings doing yep, that'll do nicely

listing update


All the lists on this weblog are up to date – feel free to click on them and then to stare at your computer with slack jawed disbelief at the quality on show.  Or tut, knowing that the numbers should be higher. .  I know that one of them is empty, but it is correct.

Would you like a picture?  Would you?

a kestrel doing listed

here we go again

Yes, it’s that day that birders dread.  Ask me what my year list is. Go on, ask me.

Well, right now the answer is nought.  Nada, zero, nothing, zilch, diddly squat, naff all, nuttin’, naaaht!

This is not acceptable and can only be rectified by racing around the roads of north norfolk and shouting bird names out of the window of a vehicle to my trusty, if only for one day of the year, secretary in the form of the long suffering Mrs Thing.  If you tune in later, after the dark after the light after this dark, I may have a number for you.  I may even compare that number to the number from last year.  Don’t get too excited though, they are generally not very big numbers.  And this year, I may even have seen a dead sperm whale which appears on none of my lists ever.

For your information, this is one of those auto-timed postings that I prepared in April last year for a laugh.  I am not really blogging drivel as the new year comes in.  The reality of the situation at 12:01 on new years day is that  I am either stupified by booze watching fireworks, or in bed. Asleep.

Either way, my year list is rather poor right now.

Tawny Owl anyone?

diver down?

No, not the Van Halen album, and actually not statistically accurate as quite the opposite was in effect yesterday as it was Divers Up!  Which isn’t the title of an album by Van Halen.

Basically yesterday was full patch divering.  The facts are this.  Early morning –  Great Northern Diver on the sea.  Lunchtime – 106 Red-throated Divers flying north.  106.  Yes, that does read one hundred and six.  I know this because I used my county thing (scroll down to a previous post if you missed this monumental purchasing event).  I didn’t start using my county thing because I didn’t expect to see 106 of them.  I started on one hand and by the time my proverbial  boots were off, I decided to use the counter and then they came and came and came.  Ones, twos, half a dozen, a dozen etc etc.  Bloody brilliant it was.  Abso-bloody-lutely brilliant.  There was a few Guillemots buzzing past too, and just before my time was up a Razorbill landed on the sea.  And that is a patch tick.  Absolute top notchness for a whole hour.

The keen eyed Norfolk birder may well have ignored the previous paragraph once they saw the words ‘Great Northern’ and will be looking for masses of information on the ID  and some will wonder why oh why oh why it wasn’t on Birdalertpagerguides?  But then again, they probably stopped reading this drivel months ago.  All the same,  I’ll probably get accused of being a suppressionist for not shaating about the siting the moment I confirmed the ID, but there you go.  I did have to go to my place of employ immediately and it wasn’t there later in the day so that’s about the size of it. 

Here is a shit photo record shot…


a diver doing great
And here is another, which looks a bit less like a Guillemot…
a diver doing northern

Before I left site I also had cracking views of a Black Redstart.  Patch birding, eh?

boxing day sale madness result

You see this?


a counter not doing any counting


It is a counter.  For counting.  You click on the clicky bit and it counts your clicks.  It is essentially an analogue stat counter.  Good, eh?

Hang on  a minute you say, (and so very early in the post too!) – shouldn’t this be about getting a jumper for 50p? Sales  you said.   Shouldn’t it be about a dirt-cheap sofa that isn’t really worth the exaggerated price that it claims to have been for sale at during the summer?    Shouldn’t it be about multi-packs of pants at knock down prices?  Shouldn’t it??  Well Dear Reader,  that counter was an out and out bargain I tell thee.  I have rescued this counter from the morass of crassness that it had been marketed as – a ‘Totty’ counter for crying out loud.  No really.  I hadn’t been looking for a counter of this ‘Totty’ to be perfectly honest and hadn’t noticed the marketing until I was at the till as I was totally consumed by the excitement of the object’s potential.  I can be like that.  When I first saw it, I knew exactly what it should be used for – counting bloody seabirds!!  Get the double rock on in!  Did I say bargain?  Yes I did.



Yep, two humble little pounds sterling for a natty little counting thingy because it is perfectly obviously that I get all confused when I am counting birds and run out of fingers and can’t get my boots off while counting the eleventh cormorant that passes my patch vista.  No, this is proper advanced and scientific instrumentation for counting stuff that flies  past in the distance at sea.  It is the mark of  a proper seawatcher you see, because you don’t need to take your eye out of your eyepiece to write anything county down.  And thus you can just carry on watching and counting.  Spot on. 
You can already see the flaw in my reasoning can’t you.  Imagine for a moment that I sit down in a sandy patch puddle and decide that I am going to count cormorants, but also want to count scoters and soft-plumaged petrels that are inevitably going to drift past – all at the same time – a simultaneous tally like situation!  How am I going to count all those birds without sitting in the sand with my bootless feet stuck up in the air dribbling like a backward four year old trying to divvy up a bag of jelly babies?  Oh, don’t worry about that – I bought three!
counters doing hahahahahahaaa!

No, I’m not sure what that black bit is on top right either, but I couldn’t be arsed to crop it.


don’t be dourty

As in the Fry and Laurie sketch.  It’s in the pronunciation.  Dourty.  Which I may be soon.  Dirty.  Dirty filthy.  Dirty filthy twitchering that is.  Now then, dorn’t be dourty!

That little peep thingie at Cley.  A Western Sandpiper.  Seems to be there all the time doesn’t it?  Regular as clockwork isn’t it?  As I understand it,  one can turn up in the early morning, sit in a particular hide, clock the bird and be at the visitor centre for 10am to hand  over a few quid for the use of the hide, browse the bookshop bit, laugh at the sculpture, sup a coffee, pick up a copy of Tern, rub your thighs in Cley Spy and still be back home for lunch.  Piece of wee-wee eh?

Well so long as it hangs on for another week,  I might go and see it. 

I might not.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to get all dourty now, would I?

birds what I saw recently

Sanderlings (up to eight!) are knocking about in their winter whiteness but strangely no Snow Buntings even though they are being seen in Caister.

Yesterday brought a Red-throated Diver, Black Redstart and no Kittiwakes.

Er, Turnstones.  And Meadow Pipits.

Gulls, yes! Gulls!  Lots of gulls, including floaty meds.  But not so many GBB.

Um, Cormorants.

And barring an occasional Peregrine and Pied Wagtails, that is about a whole week in a patch in one tidy post.


i’m not finnished!

Get up, in the dark, put bird food out, go to work. Watch gulls at lunchtime.  Come home, in the dark, bird food gone.  Repeat five times a week until March.  On a Saturday though, I can actually get to see the birds that have snuffled those parts of the fatty feast that the bastard squirrels haven’t got to.  Tits and sparrows in the main and this week a Great Spot has put in a violent appearance.  Blackbirds too.  The zeitgeist would have you believe that we are swamped with continental Blackbirds, egged on by Springautumnwatch if I remember correctly.  This is what you might see.


a blackbird not doing continental


It is a first winter male and was probably raised in them there woods. It is not anything more exotic than that.

There seems to be a tendency to try and squeak out rare morphs or races out of common birds (and I may have made this point before) and I think that this particular one is going to be more commonly claimed but generally it can only be definitively identified in the hand so I’m told.  So anyone that is claiming one in the field should be looked at with suspicion.  I know that this is not a finnish bird because I scoped it and saw the brown on the wings.  Yes, I trained a telescope on a Blackbird in the garden for fun.  When was the last time you did that?

another short comment on a different book

That Flight Identification of European Seabirds.   It’s a bit pricey isn’t it?  I mean, it’s nearly twice the price of  a keenly priced Collins and it seems to be lacking.  Stick some maps in and give me better pictures in the second edition please because I’ll probably buy it anyway.

a short comment on another book

I recently finished Birdwatchingwatching by Alex Horne.  At one point it did make me laugh audibly*.  However, I think he told a lie.  He claimed to have seen Birding World in WH Smith.  And I thought it was prescription only.**



* a poncy way of avoiding an annoying acronym

** not what it is called but it tickles me…

not completely boring though

Recently, the patch birding has been dominated by seawatching (which I am still carrying out in inappropriate windage) but it has been enjoyable.  There, I said it.  I enjoy seawatching.  It’s not because I see loads of cracking birds when I do it, because I don’t.  It’s a more philosophical thing.  If I had more wine inside me I may have felt compelled to qualify this, but I haven’t. 

But there are  birds.  This week has been spent watching Kittiwakes amongst the other gulls.  Due to their wheeling tendency there have been between three and thirty in each session.  I suspect the former due to the normal lack of birds that I see at sea, but the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  Mainly adult birds, and lovely and elegant and delicate but robust at the same time.  They really are a treat to watch in a strong wind.

Yesterday, I watched a Peregrine come in off the sea carrying prey.  Due to the colour (blackish) and the length of the legs (longish) I instantly thought Moorhen.  Which would be a patch tick.  I have ticked flat fish in the gob of a Cormorant and Sand Eels in the ‘marf’ of a Common Tern, but they were twitching.  The boid that the Peregrine had was properly dead, and not tickable (patch rule 14 – Thou shalt not ticketh the dead aviform).

turned off

That stupid bloody snow that wordpress automatically turn on each year.  Did I ask for snow on my blog?  Of course I didn’t.  Did I ask for lots of interesting birds to write about?  Of course I did.  Still, you can’t have everything I guess.

a gull doing reasonably normal

 Mrs Thing likes Herring Gulls, so I take photos of them.  Can’t blame her when they look like this…