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Post Info TOPIC: mega news


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RE: mega news



A "marginal" mega found late this afternoon on the beach at Seaton Snook, R.Tees estuary (N.Cleveland) in the form of an Isabelline Wheatear, a new species for both Cleveland and for Durham.
The bird was watched until dusk and there will be the usual gathering at first light in the morning by the great majority of county listers (including me) for whom this news broke too late today.
For anyone travelling, the access is via the Zinc Road which goes right down to the beach with ample roadside parking before the weighbridge. The Zinc Rd. is accessed from the A178 road north towards Seaton Carew (if travelling from direction of RSPB Saltholme), directly opposite an obvious quite high refuse tip on the landward side of the road.

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Some may argue it isn't a mega, but it was Mega-Alerted on my RBA Pager, and it is in the NW region - a Red-eyed Vireo today in the obs garden at South Walney NR on Walney Island, Cumbria.

I decided quite slowly (as it initially went missing after being ringed) to make the relatively short journey up from Northwich to Walney, much better than what I had expected for my life-tick of this species. I had envisaged a trip to Scilly or Cornwall at least for this bird, so Cumbria was a mere hop up the M6 biggrin

The car park was half empty (and it's only small) and after paying the £3 entry fee we joined the small (under 20 folk all afternoon) group of birders in the Obs garden. After a short wait the bird showed in the relatively small amount of cover that the garden provided, luckily there was no real other area for it to move to if it wanted to feed and have some cover. It then showed several times, ofetn in the open and gave great scope views to all present. The twitch was small, good humoured and very well behaved, and all in pleasant sunshine too, perfect smile

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Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Porthgwarra in Cornwall today and a Black-billed Cuckoo on North Ronaldsay smile Time for a Twitchers Tardis to be invented wink

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Fea's Petrel doing a tour of the east coast today. Just about every sea watching point north of Flamborough has seen it pass through I think!

-- Edited by Craig Higson on Sunday 21st of September 2014 03:26:48 PM

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Doc Brewster wrote:

In E.Yorks a juvenile Masked Shrike has turned up today at Kilnsea near Spurn. It is behind Rose Cottage & is viewable from the seawall SE of the Crown & Anchor Pub. Park only in Well Field, not in pub car park or along road. Courtesy of RBA Pagers.

Having seen the one in Scotland several years ago it is not cutting me up that I am stuck in work, but a nice tick for many smile

Still there at 1.45pm smile


Yes Paul a cracking little bird I have put my visit report on the Spurn thread.


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In E.Yorks a juvenile Masked Shrike has turned up today at Kilnsea near Spurn. It is behind Rose Cottage & is viewable from the seawall SE of the Crown & Anchor Pub. Park only in Well Field, not in pub car park or along road. Courtesy of RBA Pagers.

Having seen the one in Scotland several years ago it is not cutting me up that I am stuck in work, but a nice tick for many smile

Still there at 1.45pm smile

p.s Olive-backed Pipit there today too biggrin

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Originally posted by Dave Ousey:

A few days before a family holiday is not the ideal time to go rushing off on a twitch at the other end of the country, now is it? So when a Short Toed Eagle was first seen in Hampshire and later in East Sussex, I thought I will have to miss that one, even after a couple of my fellow A Team birder friends had tried to tempt me to go (try harder next time boys) You cannot believe how I felt upon returning to the UK, late on Friday, to find that the Short Toed Eagle was still present in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. Whilst unpacking, washing, cleaning house, gardening and shopping a few texts where sent secretly sent and a team assembled for an early dash Sunday morning, after first obtaining permission from my understanding wife. At two am we got into Chris Bs car with Steve B,Steve K & myself, only, bird of prey man Bob was missing from a full A Team trip! Heading along the M62, M6, M40, M25 and finally onto the M23, East Grinstead and into the Ashdown Forest area. At this point we struggled to find the Long car park, but as a few other birders arrived we realised we were in the right place. This area is really beautiful and certainly not like Up North. A few Tree Pipits and Stonechats were seen, but no birds of prey, so after about an hour we decided to go to the Gills Lap car park area were, we were told, quite a few birders were present. A check of the bird news revealed the bird was sat in tree waiting for us, put your foot down driver time. As we arrived a gathering of around 60 birders were watching something! A birder told us the Short Toed Eagle was sat on top of a tree at the other side of the valley, what joy, a bird that was seen by one of our departed birder friends on Scilly a few years ago, could finally be enjoyed by us all now! Truly amazing to be lucky enough to see one of the most charismatic eagles of the Western Palearctic right here in England. As it was a lifer for all our group the customery hand shakes were exchanged. The bird took to the air after about 20 minutes and gave great flight views, especially right over our heads! It gained height and disappeared out of the valley (not to be seen again until Tuesday morning). The people that live or visit this area are truly impressed by its natural beauty, as we were. After the very early start we all began to feel a bit jaded and we decided after a little stop in Crawley to head for home. We all got home around five pm and enjoyed the sunshine that had made the day very special.

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Great views of the Short-toed Eagle for Karen Foulkes, John Rayner, Riggers and I yesterday, once it had been located roosting just north-east of Gills Lap. Perched up for quite a while then effortlessly circled back past the car park to where it had been for much of Saturday afternoon before heading off out of sight for the rest of the morning. As it passed overhead we had good views of it preening and characteristically leg-dangling. Happy memories (for me) of watching flocks of them head towards me over the Bosphorous on Autumn migration. Tree Pipit, Woodlark, Bullfinch, Stonechat, Great Spotted Woodpecker and several species of raptor also seen as curtain-raisers.

We headed just down the road to Old Lodge nature reserve, just missing the eagle as it passed over the car park, where there were a variety of heathland birds as well as at least one family of Redstarts, but the main attraction here are the dragon- and damselflys. Emperor & Golden-ringed Dragonflys, Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers, Large Red, Small Red & Azure Damselflys, Keeled Skimmer, Brilliant Emerald and Beautiful Demoiselle provided a minute but glittering display to match that of the eagle and round off the morning, the latter two particularly living up to their names.

Finished the day at Whitecross Wood on the Oxon/Bucks border ( c 50 Red Kites en route) with more dragonflys and a good selection of butterflies including lots of Marbled Whites, a Silver-washed Fritillary and a Black Hairstreak

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Monday 23rd of June 2014 11:27:53 PM

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With the Short-toed Eagle that appeared first at Morden Bog in Dorset having settled down at Ashdown Forest in East Sussex I finally decided to give it a go!! Setting off at 4.45am was definitely too late as the M25 was hit at the start of rush hour and was stop start for the whole 30-odd miles that I had to be on it for hmm Once this was cleared it was q.a short distance to Ashdown Forest and first to Long car park where it had been roosting nearby until c.9am most mornings, well all except this one. Rumour had it that over-keen birders approached the roost tree and flushed the eagle out at 6.15am, leaving tens of folk arriving a bit later pretty miffed!!

Most of us then relocated to Gills Lap car pak as the daytime feeding circuit favoured this area most days. The overcast conditions didn't help but at 11.30am a raptor was spotted over pines just across the road & I heard folk saying that it looked promising, I got my scope onto it and immediately exclaimed "that's it", at last the 2s Short-toed Eagle was showing to all smile The bird gave excellent views as it circled around just over the road, often hovering & dangling its legs as this species does when scanning the heath for reptiles. After about 15-20mins it drifted off back in the direction of Long car park leaving everyone elated that this Mega had showed again despite the bad feelings of earlier in the day.

As the sky was now cloudless & it was warm & sunny we took the chance to explore the area logging up a few good birds in this part of the world I am totally unfamiliar with but will hopefully go back to. We recorded Woodlarks, Tree Pipits, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Turtle Doves and Red Kites as well as a breeding species that cannot be mentioned as it is too sensitive on open forums (if anyone is planning a visit & knows me & I know you please message me in private for info).

Later in the day we were treated to further views of the Short-toed Eagle both perched up and flying around pretty close to us against a blue, cloudless sky, a fantastic bird in a really nice area. Chatted to lots of NW and Staffs birders that I knew down there, amazed just how many had made the decision to go on the same day as us!!

The M25 was predictably a pain going back too and all in all 490miles were logged and 9.25 hours were spent in the car, that bit wasn't fun but the day out was, a Mega bird watched, a species that I never thought that I would see in the UK and a new area birded to which I plan to return to for a holiday/short break sometime. Added to that a quick explore of the Pooh Trail - Ashdown Forest is where A.A.Milne based Winnie the Pooh (!!!) to see landmarks such as the Enchanted Place, Eeyore's Gloomy Place, Hundred Acre Wood (actually Five-hundred Acre Wood in the forest!), the Lone Pine, The Heffalump Trap & of course the Pooh Sticks Bridge, and it all added up to a brilliant day out biggrin

If anyone does plan on going & needs extra info please private message me, but give a few days notice as I may not be on here every day!!

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 20th of June 2014 11:26:27 AM

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On birdguides, Hampshire Short-toed Snake Eagle showing well Bishops Dyke at 7:30am

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Went on Tuesday & I know it was newer news then, but it was a weekday, and parking was pretty bad. If you park in Burnham Overy Staithe village it is a longer walk, my mate I met there said easily an hour. I parked at the crossroads on the A149 half a mile E.of the village but parking is limited & it got a little chaotic. I ended up down the minor road opp the track towards the dunes that you need to take, parking is possible on the verge of this road intermittently so you should get a spot here. The track is good underfoot and leads to a boardwalk which tracks you round to the dunes where the bird is favouring. This route is between 30-45mins long, long enough to et the nerves jangling!! I reckon you should be absolutely fine regarding it being there as I had scoped views of it twice collecting nesting material!!

Good luck and have a safe journey, Phil smile

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Nice to see the Spectacled Warbler is still holding territory at Burnham Overy, therefore this weekend could finally present an opportunity to go.

If anyone fancies a petrol share, let me know.

Cheers

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Cretzschmar's Bunting, Fair Isle, Shetland

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On birdguides, Eurasian Crag Martin @ Flamborough, Yorkshire

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Great Spotted Cuckoo reportedly in Pembrokeshire - a sign of the madness to come over the next few months??? smile

Source: RBA

-- Edited by John Doherty on Wednesday 12th of March 2014 07:08:09 AM

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Jon Bowen wrote:

Great views of Brunnich's Guillemot at Portland Harbour and Hooded Merganser at Radipole in Dorset today plus White Billed Diver in Brixham Harbour today





Let us not forget that White-billed Diver, despite how superb they are, is not a mega anymore; it's not even a BBRC rarity! disbelief
As for the long staying drake Hooded Merganser...wink

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Great views of Brunnich's Guillemot at Portland Harbour and Hooded Merganser at Radipole in Dorset today plus White Billed Diver in Brixham Harbour today

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Todays megas

Brunnich's Guillemot (& long-staying Hooded Merganser) in Dorset


-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 28th of December 2013 06:42:26 PM

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Todays Megas

Buff-bellied Pipit on the Wirral

http://www.deeestuary.co.uk/lsight.htm


Ivory Gull still at Patrington Haven, Yorkshire


Falcated Duck in Oxfordshire

http://oxonbirding.blogspot.co.uk/

-- Edited by James Walsh on Saturday 21st of December 2013 08:41:25 PM

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And just to add, as you do, Ivory Gull, North Uist to the mix today ... wow!

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Tim Wilcox wrote:

Dropped by casually to have a look at the Baikal Teal yesterday after Tony Darby and myself had been at Martin Mere all morning (where there's a wonderfully visible roosting Tawny Owl between Janet Kear and UU hides btw). Many convinced of its wild credentials. Possibly the report earlier of it being a hybrid may have resulted from its incomplete drake plumage - it only has a droop below the eye not a full chinstrap and is still slightly muted in colouration. Apparently they have bounced back in China and Korea and have increased rapidly in numbers in the last 10 years and are now designated as of 'least concern'. Whatever the origins here the probability of genuine vagrants has clearly increased and Baikal Teal was added to the BOU list in 2009. I still don't get this wild/plastic decision-making process. How come all these Blue-winged Teal knocking about seem to be 'wild'?



Had a look at the Baikal Teal this morning and had good views in excellent light. Whatever its pedigree it was a really interesting bird to see and worth the trip.

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Brunnichs guillemot seen briefly in Filey bay (north yorks) this afternoon, if it stays around would be first confirmed modern day record for Yorkshire and a very rare twitchable british bird. Forecast not great for end of week for it to be easy to see though with gale force winds coming!


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Dropped by casually to have a look at the Baikal Teal yesterday after Tony Darby and myself had been at Martin Mere all morning (where there's a wonderfully visible roosting Tawny Owl between Janet Kear and UU hides btw). Many convinced of its wild credentials. Possibly the report earlier of it being a hybrid may have resulted from its incomplete drake plumage - it only has a droop below the eye not a full chinstrap and is still slightly muted in colouration. Apparently they have bounced back in China and Korea and have increased rapidly in numbers in the last 10 years and are now designated as of 'least concern'. Whatever the origins here the probability of genuine vagrants has clearly increased and Baikal Teal was added to the BOU list in 2009. I still don't get this wild/plastic decision-making process. How come all these Blue-winged Teal knocking about seem to be 'wild'?

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The Baikal Teal was an excellent find by Craig Bell on Saturday 30th Nov GM and Lancs ringer

-- Edited by rob archer on Monday 2nd of December 2013 06:03:50 PM

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Drake Baikal Teal Banks on the creek viewable from the seawall, park @ Banks Road near the Environment Agency building & walk 700 yards

Also the first-winter Ross's Goose @ Marshside RSPB Reserve, viewable from Marine Drive

The Southport Marshes are the mega wildfowl capital of Britain at the moment biggrin

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The first-winter Ross's Goose still present on the Southport Marshes, Wednesday 13th November, 4:30pm, viewable from Marine Drive near the Marshside RSPB Sandgrounders Hide

I'm posting this here in mega news as, although Ross's Goose is abundant in captivity and is not on the official British List, this bird is un-ringed, has appeared at a time appropriate for trans-Atlantic vagrancy, and it would appear that this bird is only the second sighting of a first-year Ross' Goose in the UK (the other was a bird in Norfolk in the early noughties)

Research points to a large increase in the North American population of Ross's Goose in recent years and it is mooted as a potential vagrant to the UK

It would seem that the first sighting was 6th November, and debate has taken place during the last 7 days as to the bird's identity, with suggestions of possible Snow Goose influence

Several birders have requested opinions from North American birders as to whether the Southport bird is a pure Ross's Goose and I have just been informed of communication from Guy McCaskie, secretary of California Rare Birds Committee: To me, this is a typical looking hatch-year Ross's Goose I see lots of Ross's Geese that look just like this at the Salton Sea every winter





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All eyes point North - Unst in Shetland has weighed in with Cape May Warbler, the second for Britain another mega American to drool over - incidentally the first accepted record was sunny Paisley in '77

-- Edited by John Doherty on Wednesday 23rd of October 2013 09:15:00 PM

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Sora on Scilly, reminds me of the good ol days biggrin

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Thick-billed Warbler still on Shetland, also Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

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Thick-billed Warbler on Shetland

Late news for Sunday, Cedar Waxwing, Tiree

(Also Isabelline Wheatear South Wales & Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Spurn)

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No, didn't catch it, I didn't go, the area's not urban enough biggrin

Like the sound of that programme, I'll have to see if the producers at the Beeb are up for it biggrin

Anyway, let's get back on the subject of megas

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You been and caught it mate? - watch out for it turning up on the quays in the next few days just in time for 'Urban Wildlife The Mega Years' winkwink

James Walsh wrote:

Info via Dumfries & Galloway Birders

The Marbled Duck went missing last night and wasn't around all day today

People are still searching the area

No feathers around







-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 4th of August 2013 09:18:27 PM

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Info via Dumfries & Galloway Birders

The Marbled Duck went missing last night and wasn't around all day today

People are still searching the area

No feathers around

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http://www.birdguides.com/iris/pictures.asp?v=1&f=405888

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Sounds like it could be quite possible to get a feather for isotope analysis from this bird if anyone happens to be in the area

From what I have read there has been isotope analysis of a Marbled Duck feather in the UK before, conclusion was captive origin for that particular bird

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James Walsh wrote:

Yesterday in Dumfries & Galloway, a potential mega

MARBLED DUCK of unknown origin on River Dee by Cumstoun Bridge just north of Kirkcudbright (D & G), showing well





Showing well as it's apparently 'very approachable'...hmm

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 4th of August 2013 09:16:18 AM

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Yesterday in Dumfries & Galloway, a potential mega

MARBLED DUCK of unknown origin on River Dee by Cumstoun Bridge just north of Kirkcudbright (D & G), showing well

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Just a snapshot of the current madness - Juvenile Ascension Frigatebird yesterday on Islay, Scotland - not seen after 9am unfortunately, but of course those rabid twitchers among you know that

I am fattening my twitch fund as best I can ing funds and just bought a scope but come October I am following lines on maps, I am definitely getting sucked into the the twitching game



-- Edited by John Doherty on Saturday 6th of July 2013 08:33:56 AM

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All being well this evening, myself and Austin Morley are driving up to Northumbs early morning tomorrow for the bridled tern. If anyone would like to join us call or text me this afternoon/evening 07530304374 and I will book us on a boat - either a 6am or 9am sailing. Cheers.

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News just in, the White-throated Needletail was killed after colliding with a wind turbine, what a terrible end for one of the best birds ever to be seen in Britain.

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More Mega Swift news

White-throated Needletail on Harris



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Pacific Swift at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk, found yesterday, still present this morning

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Mike Passant wrote:


It was illuminating to have Henry Cook's views on the plumage tones of the Margate Dusky Thrush, especially based also on his first hand experience in the field. As Henry states in his post below, seen in life, the underparts did not show such a rusty suffusion as some of the published photos suggest, and I fully accept his reasoning on this point concerning saturation of colours.
The latest photos by Simon Warford and by Rob Adderley (in the gallery here) do indeed back up Henry's assertion and indicate rather more reassuring greyer tones to virtually the whole of the underparts.
- Perhaps another cautionary tale to illustrate how the camera can sometimes serve to deceive.

Regards,
Mike P.






I made that film Mike and that's exactly how it looked, no photoshop, editing etc.

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It was illuminating to have Henry Cook's views on the plumage tones of the Margate Dusky Thrush, especially based also on his first hand experience in the field. As Henry states in his post below, seen in life, the underparts did not show such a rusty suffusion as some of the published photos suggest, and I fully accept his reasoning on this point concerning saturation of colours.
The latest photos by Simon Warford and by Rob Adderley (in the gallery here) do indeed back up Henry's assertion and indicate rather more reassuring greyer tones to virtually the whole of the underparts.
- Perhaps another cautionary tale to illustrate how the camera can sometimes serve to deceive.

Regards,
Mike P.

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re Dusky Thrush. Just to refresh your memory...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds-ESy_T5Xg

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Mike Passant wrote:


Female Dusky Thrush (intergrade?)

I couldn't face the long tortuous trek to Margate alone on Saturday (my usual potential team members being away on the Isle of Lewis), so wistfully studied the available internet photos instead.

I then began scratching my chin somewhat at the underparts of this bird and was struck by the extent of rusty suffusion on the underparts, especially obvious on the rear flanks.
I compared the images with the range of plumages depicted in the Helm guide "Thrushes" (Clement and Hathaway), and concluded that this bird most resembles an intergrade Dusky/Naumann's, based on the following characters:

1. Mantle a shade paler than true Dusky; - more like Naumann's.
2. Edgings to greater coverts and to secondaries forming unduly pale panels (though this could be age-related).
3. Underparts generally suffused with rusty tones, and more particularly with a concentration of this on rear flanks.

Image 121h on plate 41 is the closest fit, though the Margate individual has a paler mantle.

Coincidentally, I received a telephone call from a contact who had made the journey yesterday (Neil Osborne). During our conversation Neil independently voiced similar misgivings about its "racial purity".

None of this of course detracts from the quality of this particular mega rarity, though after the inevitable debate which will ensue, will observers dutifully "tick" this bird, and if so, in line with retaining a clear conscience, what as?

I'm glad I saw the original Naumann's Thrush, (but definately wish I'd seen the Leigh bird as well!)

-All part of the fun!





Hi Mike.

Saw this bird pretty well on Saturday, and although you are right about the (perhaps atypical) features including the mantle and wing feathers, the bird was almost completely greyscale on the underparts apart from a few mahogony diffuse chevrons on the side of the upper breast only. This mahogony was not the rusty colour I would have expected from Naumann's influence. In the field I could not see any rufous along the lower flanks, this area seemed appropriately dusky in appearance.

Perhaps what led you to the rusty underparts character was that many photos posted online show the colours over-cooked compared with what I experienced, presumably to tease out that popular clichéd, hyper-realized shot. Many of the photos in question have also brought out a much stronger than life orange tone to the secondary panel, just to back up my previous comment.

As this was an extremely washed-out and therefore quite pale individual, I find it hard to reference any particular feather plumage tone to expected colours. The mantle tone therefore being paler than expected is a factor of the overall paleness of the bird. The particularly striking wing panel, white fringed great coverts (not rufous) and greyish (not pure black) underpart chevrons were also a factor of this.

There are photos online of other female Dusky Thrushes which look nearly identical to this individual but they are few and far between which suggests this bird was a uncommon variant of an already very rare bird. This scenario is perhaps less likely than an intergrade granted but in the UK we do seem to receive pale vagrants on occasion, e.g. the Varied Thrush, and at a stretch, the House Finch. This may not be enough to infer a trend but it's possible birds with plumage abnormalities are more likely to fall foul of reverse migration or to being pushed off-course by winds. Plumage abnormalities are often a factor of poor diet which could leave the bird in a weakened state when it comes to staying on course. Just a theory.

It was great to see the bird feeding arboreally. I was initially worried with the numbers of twitchers there that it wouldn't be able to feed on the ground in peace (presuming incorrectly that's the only place it wanted to feed) but it didn't seem bothered and was catching the odd large caterpillar up in the treetops, a behaviour I guess our similar winter turdus, the Redwing, will be doing back in Scandanavia.

Cheers.
Henry.

p.s. Good to see you Phil down there and hope you had a good weekend in the region.

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Monday 20th of May 2013 11:50:51 PM

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Monday 20th of May 2013 11:52:36 PM

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Myself and Alex Jones successfully twitched the Dusky Thrush yesterday afternoon at Margate, Kent.

A very mobile bird, but in the end, the long trip was all made worthwhile, as it posed for the assembled crowd on a Pine Tree branch where we had really good and prolonged views.




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Female Dusky Thrush (intergrade?)

I couldn't face the long tortuous trek to Margate alone on Saturday (my usual potential team members being away on the Isle of Lewis), so wistfully studied the available internet photos instead.

I then began scratching my chin somewhat at the underparts of this bird and was struck by the extent of rusty suffusion on the underparts, especially obvious on the rear flanks.
I compared the images with the range of plumages depicted in the Helm guide "Thrushes" (Clement and Hathaway), and concluded that this bird most resembles an intergrade Dusky/Naumann's, based on the following characters:

1. Mantle a shade paler than true Dusky; - more like Naumann's.
2. Edgings to greater coverts and to secondaries forming unduly pale panels (though this could be age-related).
3. Underparts generally suffused with rusty tones, and more particularly with a concentration of this on rear flanks.

Image 121h on plate 41 is the closest fit, though the Margate individual has a paler mantle.

Coincidentally, I received a telephone call from a contact who had made the journey yesterday (Neil Osborne). During our conversation Neil independently voiced similar misgivings about its "racial purity".

None of this of course detracts from the quality of this particular mega rarity, though after the inevitable debate which will ensue, will observers dutifully "tick" this bird, and if so, in line with retaining a clear conscience, what as?

I'm glad I saw the original Naumann's Thrush, (but definately wish I'd seen the Leigh bird as well!)

-All part of the fun!

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Northumberland male Collared Flycatcher @ Low Newton

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Amazing day at spurn again (unfortunately not for me) even more amazing is that the rock thrush and caspian tern were both found by Adam hutt!

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