Monday, 27 January 2014

Birder's cup of tea code

As birders, we all like a nice cup of tea, don't we. Warming after a hard day's graft in the field, or a social imbibing in a cafe on a birding trip. But we all like our tea in differing ways, none more so than its strength or how much milk we take. This can be problematical and lead to disappointment.

My recent Dungeness visit introduced me to a foolproof way for birders to get the perfect cup of tea to suit themselves - especially if it is to be made by another birder. This was devised by Ray Turley and refined by Mark Hollingworth. Simply put, when asked how you would like your tea, you answer by selecting a warbler on the British list, whose upperpart plumage matches the colour of your perfect cuppa.

So, a weak milky tea will be knowns as 'A Desert Warbler', whilst a strong cuppa could be called a 'Cetti's'. I personally go for a 'Reed Warbler'.

It has been known for shit-hot birders to order a 'Syke's' only to send it back because the strength and colour was more 'Booted'.


  1. I too go for a 'Reed Warbler, although in the mornings, I like a large mug - the 'Great Reed Warbler'

    1. Tony, I wish I'd thought of that - brilliant observation!

  2. The other week the Bard of Greatstone served me up a cup of `Clamorous Reed Warbler`, no doubt a shade of acrocephalus the old boy was familiar with from his time in foreign parts; it was a bit like `Great Reed Warbler` but with an oily sheen, acceptable, but an acquired taste I felt. However, what you don`t want is a cup of `Richard`s Pipit`, complete with streaky floaters, that normally means the milk is rancid...

  3. Excellent system! Thrushes could be adopted for coffee. Blackbird is the obvious one for no milk.

  4. Ah I'm a Glaucous Gull juv meself Steve...

  5. Thanks for the comments chaps. It is obvious that we might be limiting ourselves if we just stick to warblers.