The Reverend Richard Lubbock was staying with a friend near the verge
of Oulton Broad in 1823*, presumably one of the large houses on the northern
shore, though the precise locality is not made clear.
" It had somewhat the carriage of the wagtail, was very active,
and came several times within six or seven yards of the windows."
As neither of them were able to put a name to it they called for the hosts
gun, only to find that the servant had just taken it to [Great] Yarmouth
to be repaired. As the bird was rather small and plain coloured they decided
not to make any extra effort to obtain it.
During breakfast they noticed an unfamiliar small bird running nimbly
around on the lawn outside. He describes it thus:
Some weeks later whilst they were looking through a private collection
of bird skins belonging to a Mr Lombe of Melton they instantly recognised
the bird labelled Alpine Warbler (sic) Accentor alpinus, as the bird
they had watched near Oulton Broad .
He comments: "had we been sufficiently aware of its value, a walk of
300 yards would have obtained the loan of a gun." **
* The actual text of the original 1848 edition and of the new edition
of 1879 gives the year as 1824; the 1879 edition has added footnotes containing
entries from Rev. Lubbock's personal papers, and it is this footnote that
gives the year as 1823, but no month is mentioned in either place!
(Observations on the Fauna of Norfolk, and more particularly the district
of the Broads, by the late Rev Richard Lubbock, Jarrold & Sons, Norwich,
** At the time he knew of only one previous record, one of a pair that
had been shot in the gardens of King's College, Cambridge on 22nd November
1822. There was actually one record previous to that, one killed in a garden
at Forest House, Epping Forest, Essex in August 1817.
(Rare Birds in Britain 1800-1990, Lee G R Evans 1994)