Come in Isabel

Today I decided to go over to Kelling Heath again to try to see a Dartford warbler, but having consulted the Rare Bird Alert app I saw that a very rare Isabelline wheatear had been sighted in West Runton (another of the rarities from southern Europe that have been appearing in the UK this spring). Since West Runton is only about five miles from Kelling it seemed silly not to try to see the bird, and so at lunch time I found myself at the beach car park there with about a dozen other birdwatchers.

My brain being a slightly strange place I had spent the whole drive over thinking of the old Isabel “knock, knock” joke my dad used to tell.* I created a new version somewhere between Holt and West Runton, which will be appreciated (I hope) by connoisseurs of Dad jokes everywhere!

“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Isabel.” “Isabel who?” “Is-a-belline wheat-ear?” “No – not ‘ere! It’s just over there!”

I told you my brain was a strange place!

Seriously though the Isabelline wheatear was “just over there” in a field viewable from the car park. A bit too distant for a decent photograph, but clearly recognisable in the telescope, and a new UK species for me. And helpfully there turned out to be three northern wheatears (our usual summer visiting wheatear) in the same field for comparison. Though they were all males and “Isabel” was a female, it was great to see them all together, and things got even better when I saw that – still in the same field – there were also four yellow wagtails. Brilliant!

It’s an Isabelline wheatear, honest Guv’!
Very cropped photo of the female Isabelline wheatear – grainy but recognisable

I did then head back to Kelling Heath but didn’t manage to see a Dartford warbler….One day I’ll see one!

Kelling Heath

Brenda writes: “Honesty is usually seen in its pink form but sometimes can be white. Today I noticed a clump of the white form opposite the church in Wells, complementing its urban environment to perfection.”

Still life with traffic cone

New species for April 22nd:
Birds: yellow wagtail, northern wheatear, Isabelline wheatear

*What do you mean, you don’t know the old Isabel “knock, knock” joke? “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Isabel.” “Isabel who?” “Is a bell necessary on a bicycle?”