Saturday, 29 October 2016

Eastern Black Redstart

It's been a great autumn for vagrants from the east, but surely for good looks few can match the eastern black redstarts Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides which are now appearing on the east coast. Really stunning birds, I was going to say they look as bright as common redstarts, but actually no, they are much brighter than redstarts. The red on the underparts, rump and tail is breathtaking, especially in combination with the black face and throat. I can only imagine how smart a full summer plumage adult must look on territory.

Todays bird at Skinningrove, Cleveland, was one of at least three seen recently on the east coast and is considered to be a 1st winter male, though I'd have to say it looks more like and adult to me. It was a very approachable and obliging bird, constantly fly catching and flicking around, the only criticism I could make of the bird was that it was too active and didn't stay still long enough to allow me at least to get great photos.

At present this is only a race of black redstart, but what a cracker, it was my first and a pleasure to make its acquaintance. This race of black redstart breeds largely outside the western palearctic, in places such as China and Mongolia.

Chasing birds might not be everybodys cup of tea, but not only do you get to see some great birds, you also visit some lovely places which you might not otherwise go to. This is Skinningrove beach in Cleveland. The first time I've been to the place.

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