Friday, April 30, 2010

Headland birds - spectacular and not so spectacular

Last saturday was rather beautiful and so, on a tip, I took the camera to one of our clifftop headlands to look for the birds that inhabit the scrub there. First up was one of our more beautiful finches, the linnet.


Next up was a coastal heathland speciality, a rather drab female stonechat.....

stonechat fem

Luckily she was accompanied by a rather more spectacular male suitor. Male stonechats must be amongst Europes most bold and beautiful birds.


My target though was a lifer, Britain's montane blackbird, the Ring Ouzel. I knew there were a couple passing through and sure enough after an hour or two of searching I heard one of the most unusual calls I've ever heard coming from this:

ring ouzel

It's a female ring ouzel. I must confess to being a little disappointed. The males are far more spectacularly marked with a strong white band. Viewed from this angle (which shields the marking on her chest), the female looks kind of like a scabby blackbird. Disappointing and fulfilling at the same time. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

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