Long time no see the blog. Due to ill health birding etc has been very thin on the ground, but today we finally managed to twitch a new bird. On Monday (1st) the news broke of a Eastern Black Redstart on Scilly… closely followed y a second bird much closer in Scalby village near Scarborough. We had to wait till today (3rd) to get but as soon as the bird came on the pager as present we drove up…. it took an age due to the many 50mph limits on the motorways! However we arrived mid pm and almost immediately the bird was showing and what a bird it was. Now I have a definite weakness for chats and thrushes, but I challenge any one to say this was boring (I once heard a birder say Red-flanked Bluetails were boring!?). The bird was flitting about the end of a small road on the edge of a housing estate and was perching on roof tops, small trees and flitting down to feed on the lawns and road, often coming to within feet of us! It was incredibly active and could go missing for some time over into the gardens of the houses but when it arrived back you could often hear it calling before it showed up! The orange seemed to glow in the late pm sunshine.
Oddly in the last photo the back has come out too brown toned, looking greyer in real life with fainter brown tones mainly on the centre of the mantle?
The bird is a first winter male of the “paradoxus” type and interestingly has moulted some greater coverts to fresher feathers giving and obvious moult contrast on one wing in particular. Most males in our sub species/species look female like in their first winter but a few show a more male like plumage which is known as paradoxus. assuming that these eastern birds are also the same we could be missing a few that look like the more nondescript females in amongst our birds. However since we have now had a few of these paradoxus phoenicuroides could this brighter first winter male plumage be more common in that type?
After consulting various sites on the web the wing formula (to eliminate any hybrid CommonxBlack) it looks excellent.
Now is it really a new species for the list? The Black Redstart complex if complex and involves several sub species, this bird coming from the far east of the groups, phoenicuroides. There is an excellent case for this eastern grouping to be split off as far as I can see… but I know sod all really!
Anyway I really don’t care I haven’t seen one before and he is beautiful, is very rare and has travelled a mind bogglingly long way to meet us in a housing estate in North Yorkshire