Sunday, 22 November 2009


That's all I have to report today. The weather was so awful this morning when I got up, I didn't bother venturing forth outdoors at all, except to set a drop trap in my garden. With the trap baited with copious amounts of bird cake all I had to do was wait for the birds to come in, and they did. They descended on to the ground feeder enmasse and a few ventured into the trap. I pulled, and I had five Starlings together. Unfortunately one escaped as I extracted the others. I only had one attempt at catching them and let them feed in peace for the rest of the day. Mind you I am not sure I could handle ringing any more than four anyway!

They are beautiful birds (honestly) as the pictures below show with great variation in their plumage. The problem is they shriek and crap all over the place! In fact Starlings are capable of squirting excrement probably at least three feet vertically, as my trainer Mark, many years ago, found out to his cost! He was ringing a Starling and talking to his fellow ringers at the same time, when the bird he was ringing crapped straight up into the back of his mouth. Yuck!

On this day in 1986 the weather was a lot better and more in keeping with the time of the year. At first light I found myself perched on the shingle bank at Coastguards, Cley in north Norfolk. At this time I lived in Norfolk and the north Norfolk coast was my stomping ground. It was a bright and cold day with a moderate southwesterly wind and the sea watch was pretty poor due to the wind direction. When I say poor, it was more like dire, with single Gannet and Red-throated Diver; although three Long-tailed Duck's east was nice!

I then moved on to Holkham Hall hoping for Hawfinch, but all I had was a single Nuthatch. Mind you I was fairly pleased with the Nuthatch because although they were common in Norfolk, on the Fylde they were still very rare then. It was then onto Titchwell and I walked across the reserve and salt marshes to the shore to look for Snow Buntings and do a little more sea watching. I came up trumps with the Snow Buntings and had a nice flock of 38, but the sea watching was slow with 12 Common Scoters and 144 Brent Geese. It was then back home to thaw out my frozen hands and feet. I can't remember the last time I had to thaw myself out after birding!

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