Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Pining for the Fjiords

A customer enters a pet shop.

Mr. Praline: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The owner does not respond.)

Mr. Praline: 'Ello, Miss?

Owner: What do you mean "miss"?

Mr. Praline: (pause)I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

Owner: We're closin' for lunch.

Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show...

(owner hits the cage)

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything...

Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.

Owner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!

Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

Mr. Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Mr. Praline: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?

Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.


Owner: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Praline: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!

Owner: No no! 'E's pining!

Mr. Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!


Owner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of parrots.


Which is a roundabout way of saying there was a Peregrine on a pylon at the Waterworks NR this morning eating a freshly dead Ring-necked Parakeet, and far from being out of Parrots, there’s another 1,999 of them around the back of the shop every night.

As it was sitting there I thought it would make an ideal candidate for a live broadcast via Periscope. After I had done it I thought there might be some sensitive souls who would find it distressing so attempted to find something cute and fluffy as an antidote, unfortunately the little Bunny that suddenly appeared hopped out of view as I eyed him up, can’t think why!

The rest of the morning was quite birdy compared to the last couple of visits to the patch. Plenty of spiffy looking Ducks in the beds; Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Mallard but nothing new for the year, I think our enormous January list is going to haunt us for a while, still, only four weeks* till the first Spring migrant (*not a guarantee).

Twelve Stock Doves and some Greenfinch were the best of the rest in the Waterworks and it was much the same on the paddocks. No Winter Thrushes at all but Song Thrushes were especially numerous.

The Sun came out but the wind picked up by the time I hit the reservoirs. Highlights were a flock of 16/17 Siskin by the East Warwick hide and a German colour-ringed (A25J) Common Gull on the West Warwick. Originally rung in Hamburg and spent some time last winter in Wanstead, but appears to have come to it's senses and now with us J. The ringer kindly, and quickly, sent me this:

I tried to string a Yellow-legged Gull but it disappeared before I could clinch it, which is probably for the best.

A large female Peregrine flew in from the filter beds and roosted on the No.2 reservoir pylon, always a favourite, and both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk put in appearances. I scanned the horizon for Buzzard or Red Kite but I guess they are four weeks away too.
There has been discussion about the need for a gritty, more urban-looking background picture for the blog by some of the hoody-wearing, ear-ring bedecked, punk-haired twenty-something members of the group (no, I don’t mean Pete and Dave). Hopefully their bloodlust is satisfied by the shots of a Parakeet smeared pylon. I tried to warn them where Gull-watching would lead J.



  1. Dear WB,

    Thanks for your help re Brambling. Unfortunately, I found some days after my visit to the Marshes that I had dropped the front lens of my Opticron scope at some point during my visit to the paddocks. I checked with the Ice Centre and the Horse Riding Centre, and the LVP rangers, to see if anyone had handed it into one of those, but they all came up blank. Have any of the local birders mentioned finding it at all?



  2. Hi Alan. I have not heard from anyone about a found front lens. Sorry to hear that. BTW. The Brambling is back. Found today, 13/02/16, in same place. Rear Paddocks.


  3. Thanks for getting back to me. Ah well....