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.


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.

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).


Nice year tick today with a Grey Wagtail, only my second in this patch. Lovely little bird that I don’t see enough of lately.  Fair few Pied, but as handsome as they are I do prefer their Grey cousin.

Lately the birding has been dominated by seawatching.  This has generally been dominated by Great Black-backed Gulls interspersed with very occasional little black things steaming past that I cannot identify. Largely due to the distance rather than my inability to identify little black things that steam past, which is in itself quite vast.  This is quite typical of my seawatching experience and I love it. 

Let’s have a picture of one of them there gulls eh?


great black backed doing 2nd winter, or possibly not

What a beast!  Just look at the hook on it!  Look at that mantle!  Yummy!

near miss

It seemed that Friday was a good day for a seawatch.   I mean, a Fea’s Petrel flew past the evening before.  How good does it need to get? What with the patch being by the sea, it seemed a good idea to then proceed to sea and watch it.  Getting ready for ‘the big one’.  The patch tick of patch ticks.  A rare seabird.  Lets go!

The first Brents of the winter, some Wigeon, some Scoters.  No shearwaters, certainly not any Cory’s.  Or Gannets.  Some gulls.  No skuas. Some terns.  Hmmm.  But then!   Hang on one a second there is a small dark bird with a white rump flying almost on the waves!!! Bloody hell!  It couldn’t be could it?  Where has it gone?  Find it find it!  Oh, what is that what has gone and landed on that there rock.  Oh, it is a Wheatear. 

Swallow anyone?

a swallow doing not long now