Monday, December 5, 2016

The autumn that doesn't stop giving

Just as I was about to pack my birding gear up for the winter, news broke of this Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire. After the first positive news came in this morning, I joined Will (who luckily needed it for his Derbyshire list), Dan, Jake and Michael - all five of us crammed into Will's feisty but brake-less Corsa. We arrived at the tiny village of Beeley in the early afternoon, and as we were looking for somewhere to park the car, birders were watching it just beside us. We abandoned the car and saw the bird within about 10 seconds of arriving. Incredible. Phew. But views were not great and certainly no satisfying photos. Then it flew off and away, and we found ourselves in a pretty bizarre twitch scene. Loads of birders running around like headless chickens, peeking over walls and into gardens, but we had no idea where we were, what was the birds' regular loop and what to do. After a while the thrush thankfully reappeared and disappeared again, and we ran from one side of the village to the other, trying to improve our views. Eventually it did settle for a bit, and so did we. It showed quite well until it got dark and I was pretty satisfied. What a brilliant bird! That pattern on the underparts... Too distant and dark for proper photos, and it was partially obscured most of the time, but hey-ho, can't complain.
Good to meet up with many twitchy friends - this autumn we had lots of super opportunities to meet.
Dusky Thrush is a much-wanted WP tick for me. Only one Israeli record, in 1984 just before I started birding properly. I saw lots if East Asia, but this is of course a very special bird over here.
The ride back was uneventful. I was hoping for a second tick as we drove through the desolate grouse moors - funnily enough I still need Red Grouse, but that will have to wait for another time.
Many thanks to Will for driving!

Dusky Thrush, Beeley, Derbyshire, 5/12/16

I know little about age and sex of Dusky Thrush. Collins guide shows that pale tips to GC are retained juvenile feathers. But Nils van Duivendijk mentions in his handbook that 1cy should show a moult contrast in GC. In my photos I can see no moult limit, and tail feathers look nice and broad, but what do I know? Regarding sex, throat is all streaked, that seems to indicate female, but underparts pattern is really nice and contrasty. Not sure.

Sorry about this one...

30% of my Derbyshire list

Sunset over Peak District National Park. Good night little bird. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful bird. I remember the excitement when one showed up here in Anchorage a few years ago. I wish my photos came out as nice as yours.