Tuesday, 17 December 2013

NDB bird of the year

What could my best bird of the year be? To be honest I've most probably done less birding this year than any other, concentrating as I have on other natural history orders or watching the many sporting events on offer (Ashes tests, Lions tests, Premiership footy). Spectacle of 2013 would probably be awarded to the 110+ Hawfinches at Mickleham, but they come in as runners-up to this little beauty...


For a number of days in mid-March my wife had reported seeing a strange bird in the back garden. She knows most of the commoner species, so the fact that this baffled her had me wondering what on earth it could be. After interrogating her with a blow-torch whilst I was wearing a Bill Oddie mask, she confessed to seeing red flashes somewhere and white in the wing. I suggested Redwing - no, smaller than that. Brambling? A proffered illustration drew a shake of the head. I then showed her a picture of a male Black Redstart and she exclaimed "That's it!". Totally gripped off (and, if I'm being honest, slightly sceptical) I staked the garden out one late afternoon and within ten minutes was watching a spanking male Black Redstart hopping about by the back door.

It remained with us just short of a fortnight, being seen in the front and back garden, plus in neighbouring properties. I never heard it sing. Needless to say it was a garden tick. The weather throughout its stay was very cold with biting easterly winds. Why it remained for so long is a mystery - did the weather influence it to remain off passage? This particular bird will live long in the memory.

3 comments:

  1. I remember you posting about that one....nice one, Steve.

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    1. Thanks Dean. Have you recorded Black Red at Cortonwood?

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