Friday, December 30, 2011

We've spent the last couple of days with top Norfolk birders Tonk and Aimes. The main reason for the visit was to indulge in their fantastic company and was in no way connected to the continued presence of the Western Sandpiper at Cley. We did go to see the troublesome little peep but arrived to news that it had possibly been nobbled by a Sparrowhawk. Happily this wasn't the case and we eventually caught up with it at Arnold's Marsh. It was great to check out the features that have been the focus of so much discussion. It's a shame we had to do it in the presence of so many piss boilers who were happy to rock up, see a Dunlin, and bugger off. Other highlights of the trip were the Great White Egret at Kirkby on Bain on our way over to Norfolk, the Lesser White-fronted Goose at Buckenham, stacks of geese including plenty of Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese and a couple of Corn Bunting which were the final addition to our 2011 year list.

So perhaps these photos aren't going to contribute to the amazing amount of study that this bird has had. But it was still fantastic to scope the bird for a while and see for ourselves the subtleties of its bill shape and occasionally the rufousy fringed rear scapulars. It was a wide-necked, plump little fella with its legs seemingly way back on its body. Great to see. (c) Richard Brown

Following the suggestion that the Western Sand had been nabbed by a Sprawk, this male Kestrel almost immediately proved how dangerous the marshes can be for unwary waders by nailing a Snipe. It had already fed for 20 minutes when it decided to bring over what remained of its kill to show everyone in the hide what the insides of a Snipe look like. (c) Richard Brown

The Great White Egret was extremely distant but put on a good show as it actively hunted at the far side of the gravel pit. (c) Richard Brown


  1. What's a 'piss boiler' exactly? :)

  2. Piss Boiler noun (plural piss boilers): Members of the birding public who, through their actions, boil your piss, typically by showing incredibly bad field craft. For example: The 'piss boiler' walked along the top of the bank in front of the Western Sandpiper, talking loudly before exclaiming to all that they're on the bird. Their directions lead to a Dunlin. You can't turn their bird into a Western because it's a Dunlin. They put their arm around you and point at the Dunlin, exclaiming loudly in a way that implies you're simple, that IT'S THERE. You then pick the Western up somewhere else but they have already left, happy with their tick.
    There are many different ways to boil piss and ever more complex ways are being found all the time.