Monday, 22 October 2012

Black Redstart mini-influx, and Ode to a Redwing

I don't generally expect to see much while getting ready for school- so a Black Redstart giving a brief show  from my bedroom window was a great surprise today! it's a new bird for the garden (god knows what the list is now, but it included Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Whitethroat, Woodcock and Reed Bunting!) and a rather fantastic bird generally! Mine was a female/juvenile type, but Dad went one better with a gorgeous male by the Golden Galleon, at Cuckmere Haven. He also reported a lot of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, but nothing rarer among the Turdus.

speaking of Thrushes, A while back I asked Bob Edgar about how to tell apart a continental Song Thrush (race philomenos) from a british Song Thrush (race clarkei). I haven't seen any big numbers of Thrushes recently, but if there has been a little arrival I'll definitely pay attention to any Song Thrush I see and report back!

and how can I ignore perhaps my favourite autumn bird, the Redwing? I've so far failed to post anything about them on here, other than my first few at Seaford Head on 7 October when other birds stole some of the headlines; but they're moving over in decent numbers every night now. For me they really are the epitome of autumn, better than the finches and pipits, better than the wagtails pouring along the cliffs, maybe even better than Ring Ouzels, or Whinchats, or the thrill of finding something a bit out of the ordinary. Maybe it's the call, piercing through the typically cold October nights, and how you can take a walk around at night and literally feel like the sky is bursting with them! In Canada, you could have nights where the sky was littered with 'spinks' and 'chips' from thousands of Warblers and Sparrows and Thrushes flying over- but none of the rest of our passerines ever seem to be as vocal as their nearctic counterparts, bar of course the Redwing! It's a sign of autumn wherever you go, you could hear one over a bustling city or a deserted mountainside, and for these reasons and so many others, they're my favourite autumn bird.

I think I got a bit carried away there! I apologise to anyone who tires of the romanticised droolings of bird bloggers, but I can't really help it. I've got to head off to school now so I'll leave it there, but thanks for reading and good birding to all!

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