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Thursday, 25 October 2018


The recently reported Nutcracker near Holt must have set a few pulses racing: it's a species that is absent from the UK lists of all but the older generation of birders, having last occurred in, I believe, 1998. I'm lucky enough to have seen two individuals: one at Westleton in 1985, the other at Cocknage Wood, Staffs in 1991. The latter took chocolate from my elder daughter's hand, which it thoroughly seemed to enjoy! The photos below were in an old album. I used to try and take bird images with my Practika SLR and 300mm lens, but also bought them from photographers at twitches, so it's possible the Westleton pictures are someone else's: if so, I apologise and will remove immediately if asked...

The putative Holt / Cromer bird last week has generated the usual levels of scepticism, but I wonder how fair that is: the single observer also saw the Westleton bird, I believe and the Nutcracker is not a bird you'd forget if you'd ever seen one!

An anecdote. My one-time regular birding buddies Bob Walker, Peter Bewick and I were staking out Mayday Farm for Goshawks one February day in 1992. As we 'walked the square', a pair of birds flew from one stand of conifers to another: we watched them with binoculars for twenty seconds or so. We all three agreed the birds were Nutcrackers, but also decided not to report them, owing to the somewhat sensitive venue and also because we were only 90% certain of the identification.

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