Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Thursday 7 February 2013


Blame Jonathan Lethbridge. His blog convinced me it was worth the trip to see the Black-bellied Dipper at Thetford. Like Jono, I had found all sorts of reasons not to go to see the Black-bellied Dipper. For one thing it was a bit far for me as twitches go, but then it wasn't one full of risks. Norfolk is a couple of hours from Surrey on a good run and there are plenty of interesting birds currently to see closer by, including the Bonaparte's Gull in Eastbourne.

But having read Jono's blog and knowing full well this bird has been showing really well for weeks, I didn't want to end up missing out and regret not going. So I went earlier this week and was glad to have made the effort. I just knew the trip would be worthwhile.

It was easy to find. Park up by the Three Nuns Bridges on the River Thet, walk over the bridge and head straight on over another small wooden bridge, turn left around the edge of a muddy field and there on a small, fast-flowing stream perched on some dead wood and singing was the Black-bellied Dipper.

Poor photos considering what a perfect poser the Black-bellied Dipper was
What a fascinating and handsome little bird. Full of personality, it would perch, bobbing up and down and blinking with its distinctive white feathered eyelid. It would dip its head in the water looking out for food, and would swim and then dive under as it caught its next meal. Never far away from view - just 40 feet away at worst – it was one of those birds you could sit and watch for hours.

I took a few digiscope photos but they were massively disappointing as the light was low and none of the pictures came out very sharply. It didn't really matter though. It was yet another confiding rare bird to enjoy.

Next stop – the Eastbourne Bonaparte's Gull. More on that to follow.

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