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Have you spotted Chalky? Rare white blackbird causing a flap in Itteringham

PUBLISHED: 17:15 02 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 02 June 2017

Chalky the white blackbird: Picture: Courtesy of Mike Hemsley

Chalky the white blackbird: Picture: Courtesy of Mike Hemsley

Archant

Like many rare and wonderful creatures Chalky, an all-white blackbird, is a bit temperamental, so the village celebrity failed to show on Friday.

Chalky in his nest. Photo: Geoff Thompson. Chalky in his nest. Photo: Geoff Thompson.

However, the owners of the property where he’s nesting, did capture him - they believe it’s a him - the day before.

That picture was posted on social media, which means Chalky has become a bit of a sensation in north Norfolk.

The bird has been causing a flap, nesting in a garden belonging to Geoff and Julia Thompson in Itteringham, near Aylsham.

Its colour was a surprise to the family.

Mrs Thompson, a lecturer at City College Norwich, said: “We saw the male and female normal blackbirds from our bedroom window flying in and out of their nest on May 12.

“So we were very surprised to see that one of the chicks was a white blackbird, which my husband nicknamed Chalky.

“We were expecting to see all brown blackbirds. Chalky looked so vulnerable compared to the others because of his colour. He’s still being fed by his mother and is living in the trees and bushes. We put mealworms out to try and get him to come out.”

After carrying out research on the internet, the couple believe that Chalky has leucism — a genetic mutation which cuts out colour pigmentation.

Itteringham resident Mike Hemsley posted the photograph of Chalky on social media, where it’s creating a storm of interest.

Mr Hemsley said: “We put it on social media because it’s a bit of gossip. Did you know we had a white blackbird in the village?”

His post from the Itteringham Village Shop Twitter account said: “Forget politics, financial markets and social unrest....Some good news! Chalky the ‘white’ blackbird ( the Village celebrity) is doing fine.”

Georgie Perry-Warnes, North Norfolk District councillor for Itteringham, said: “Itteringham’s such a lovely place to live in, I’m not surprised Chalky made his way to the village.”

Bird-lovers will get a chance to see Chalky at an Open Gardens event, from 11am to 5pm, on Sunday, June 11. The Thompsons’ home at 11, The Street will be one of many gardens in the village open to the public. The event is being held to help save the Itteringham shop, whose tenants are facing eviction in four months’ time, unless a solution can be found.

Have you got a rare creature living in your garden? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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