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One must have permission from the Warden at the Weeting Reserve, who Is not there
every day, and a permit must be purchased. We made our way back to the hide, after
the formalities of getting in through the warden. The Stone Curlew must have a
particular breeding habitat, one that Is a barren sandy wasteland with close-cropped
turf. In this area I believe this Is accomplished by the encouragement of the
European hare that spend all their waking hours cropping turf. We were barely
settled In the hide when a couple of these strange, thick-kneed ungainly birds
came into view. They have huge goggley yellow eyes and a round-headed appearance.
They would come up and go back over the rise like little ghosts but soon they came
closer and began to display right in front of the hide, as if on queue. We were
told this was most unusual and we were most fortunate to be witnessing this sight.
They would run furtively with head low and body hunched toward each other and then
back off slowly as if they had changed their minds about the whole thing after all.
They usually emerge at night to feed and forage. If surprised in the open they
will slink quietly away to lie, with outstretched neck, behind some little bush or
mound, achieving a miraculous camouflage. We seemed never to tire of watching the
antics of these strange creatures and left reluctantly, birding our way slowly back
to the warden's caravan and there saw another strange sight. While we were speaking to the Warden, an immature Tawny Owl suddenly and silently dropped down near
the caravan and proceeded to stare at us as Intently as we did at him. It was a
beautiful bird and almost entirely wild, altho It had been raised by the Warden
after being found in the woods, either fallen or taken from the nesf. It came
back for food occasionally but now It flew off as silently as It came....a beautiful
creature. Near here the Laburnum was blooming alt about and hung in luscious golden
droopy clusters. Hera we saw one of the few remaining pairs of Red-backed Shrikes
breeding in Britain. At another place not far distant we found the Wood Lark.
Several places of historical interest were visited briefly and we arrived in Cley
after dark. This was probably our favorite trip.
But the place of never-ending excitement and wonder was the Cley marshes. Across
the road from the marshes is Walsey HIM, a small preserve of hillside gorse, or
broom, thickets and paths leading down the HIM Into another marsh and willows.
Hera can be found the Willow, Reed and Sedge Warblers. A pair of Bullfinches were
Walsey Hill was a delightful place to sit and survey the surrounding countryside
the marshes and coastline on one side and Cley In the distance with Its quaint
Dutch windmill, the ancient cathedral and its flintstone cottages wi+h red pan-tile
roofs. But all of this would soon come to an end. Two members of our group left
for London on the sixth day. The rest of us were soon to embark on the last of the
extensions with Bryan...to North and South Wales and southern England ending at New
Forest but this will be another sequel to this birding Journey to be written
BIRD BEHAVIOR A Book Review? "A Guide to the Behavior of Common Birds"
More and more of our readers are voicing interest in this or that ins+ance of a
bird's behavior, so the Editor requested help from Linda Walsh of The Chickadee In
providing some source material. With apparent sleight-of-hand, she Immediately produced a new (1979) book by Donald W. Stokes, "A Guide to the Behavior of Common
Birds, with original Illustrations by J. F. Lansdowne. Dealing with common birds,
some of which we see dally, It Is an excellent introduction to the fun of Behavior
As the author explains in the opening chapter, "I have always enjoyed the continual
treasure hunt of bird-watching....going out in the early morning and searching
grasses, shrubs and trees for the least movement, quickly spotting the familiar
birds, and puzzling over new spring arrivals or fall migrants. But at the same time.
Just making lists of birds I'd seen left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied...! sensed
I wasn't getting to the heart of the matter, was somehow passing up an opportunity
or neglecting a resource. What could I do with a bird once I knew its name?" An
article on Mallards with Illustrations of the birds in strange poses, with labeled
captions, led him to a duck pond to see for himself if he had really been missing
something all the years of his bird-watching. He found the birds doing the very
things Illustrated in the article, and to his excitement, found the Mallard had
become a new bird to him. "The surprise and treasure hunt had been restored to my
This experience led him to explore ornithological journals, in search of articles
on behavior of common birds, and discovered many. But he also discovered that very