Always check

Some years ago I received a phone call from a local farmer asking me if I wanted to come along and see the colourful parrot he had flying around his farm yard. Having a lot of work on at the time I was not endeared to travelling the five miles to the farm just to see an escaped cage bird but politely said I would call the next time I was in the area. Seven days on I called and was treated to some stunning photos of a Bee eater… which had of course long since departed.

Since that occasion I have always followed up on phone calls reporting something odd. Yesterday I received such a call.

Helen Stibbons, a lady who lives down in the village, had seen an odd looking starling visiting her bird feeders during the past few days. She had the foresight to check the Collins guide concluding her visitor was a young Rose coloured Starling, but wanted the sighting verified as she wasn’t sure.

Rose coloured Starling is a rare visitor to Norfolk so I was more than a little sceptical but went as soon as I got the message. Talking to Helen she volunteered the bird was quite pale and had a yellow bill – in truth it sounded good.

It didn’t take long to track the starling down and sure enough it was a moulting juvenile Rose coloured Starling. A great find for Helen, a very good local patch tick and somewhat of a refreshing change from indecipherable, short staying Philosophus and Sylvia Warblers.

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Nov 2012


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