Monday, 11 November 2013

Personification

I'm currently reading Robert Macfarlanes's excellent book 'The Old Ways' (and a gushing review will appear soon). In it he writes about the Gannet colony on Sula Sgeir and the presence, for a few years, of a Black-browed Albatross. This particular individual was already well-known to the birding fraternity, having been present on Bass Rock in 1967, then relocated in 1972 at Hermaness, staying for twenty years before disappearing once again, only to resurface at Sula Sgeir between 2005 and 2007. He was named Albert Ross and caused many a birder to head north for a tick.

This reminded me of another bird that stayed around long enough to be given a name - and that was George the Glaucous Gull, who haunted the north Norfolk coast between Cley and Salthouse between the early 1960s and early 1980s. I saw him in 1977 and felt as if I was meeting a proper celebrity - I bet there are a few birders out there who stared at him through their optics and felt that they were in the presence of ornithological royalty. When he went (to that great beach in the sky no doubt), a first-winter bird turned up shortly afterwards and was christened - Boy George!

8 comments:

  1. Steve, I well remember George at Cley as it used to come to ham sandwiches at the coastguards! Also, I seem to recall the long-staying Black-winged Stilt at Titchwell being named Sammy, but there must be others... Paul

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    1. Paul, I thought that, with your Norfolk connections, you would have paid your respects to George.

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    1. Of course, LC the Lesser Crested Tern. Didn't bother myself...

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  3. There was a Red-crested Pochard on the local canal that I found a few years ago. It was attractive to a few Devon year listers. I named him Malcolm.

    Upon reasonable request for the reason, I replied "Why not".

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  4. Malcolm? Perfectly acceptable to me...

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  5. There's Rossi the Ring-Billed Gull at Southend. Named after the ice-cream parlour he used to hang around. I don't know if he's been seen at all this year but he'd turn up most winters for the last 10+ years.

    I look forward to the The Old Ways review; I've just started reading that book myself! Macfarlane is definitely my favourite nature writer.

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    1. That's not the same Rossi as in Francis Rossi of Status Quo is it Rob? His family were ice cream makers. The Old Ways review is coming - a lovely read.

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