Tuesday 23 June 2009


Has it really been a month since I updated this load of crap? Where does the time go these days, I don’t know, seems like only yesterday, still, mustn’t grumble, you’re as old as you feel, at least I’ve got my health, that’s the main thing....

So, what have I been up to in the last month? Not a lot really, although I did have the following salutary experience recently:

I had to go to Norfolk to pick up some paintings from the Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, so I thought as I was passing I’d have a quick look for the Black-winged Pratincole which had been hanging around just south of Thornham for a couple of weeks. Obviously this wasn’t real “fucking hell – I NEED it, let’s go NOW!!!” twitching, but still near enough twitching to remind me of one of the reasons why I don’t do it any more, i.e. not seeing the bird and thus wasting time that could be spent doing some proper birding.

Fortunately, since the bird had been present for weeks, I wasn’t reminded of the other reason I hate twitching (crowds of utter wankers talking bollocks and comparing the size of their cocks lists). On the contrary, there was only one other bloke looking at the pratincole-less field when I arrived, and he kindly informed me that it had been seen first thing at Titchwell, but not since, in stark contrast to every fucking day for the previous two weeks, when it had been sat in that field most of the time.

So I went to Titchwell (which I was going to do anyway, so that’s not really twitching either). I saw two distant Spoonbills (which were predictably asleep), plus the usual Titchwell fodder – Little Gulls, Bearded Tits, Cetti’s Warbler, Marsh Harriers and scores of incompetent dudes misidentifying everything in sight – “What’s that?” “Dunno – it’s got a curved beak like an Avocet, but it’s brown. I think it might be some sort of sandpiper” (it was a Black-tailed Godwit); “Did anyone else see that falcon? Was it a Merlin or a Peregrine?” (it was a Hobby); “Apparently there was a pratincole here this morning” “What’s a pratincole – a type of seabird?” etc, etc. But no pratincole.

As I walked back to the car I recalled that in my twitching days I was cursed with a pratincole jinx, having missed both the 2nd and 3rd British Orientals (the Norfolk one twice), and dipped on Collared and Black-winged two or three times each before I finally saw them. And when I did eventually see a Black-winged it was an unsatisfactory distant speck buggering off over the horizon with some Lapwings. Which is why I would quite like to have seen this one.

To cap things off perfectly, when I got home I looked on Birdguides, and of course it was seen at Titchwell about half an hour after I left, and then showed well for the rest of the afternoon. In fact it must have appeared while I was eating my lunch back at the car. Fuck knows who spotted it, as I didn’t see anyone at Titchwell other than the aforementioned dudes, none of whom would have recognised a pratincole if it landed on their shoulder, turned to the page of pratincoles in their spotter’s guide and said “That’s me! I’m a pratincole, you blind cunt!”, whilst pointing to the picture of the Black-winged Pratincole.

Twitching? You can stick it up your arse.