Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dusky Thrush in Kent

Fraught is the word that comes to mind. Somehow, I'd managed to get myself involved in having to supervise a load of 16 year olds on a revision/activities weekend in landlocked Wiltshire in mid-May. I generally chance these kind of situations, safe in the knowledge that previous efforts mean. I rarely have to make a move for rares nowadays. However, getting a call from Josh late Friday night about photos of a Dusky Thrush in Kent had me sweating somewhat. And then, with a text from Lopez the next morning letting me know it was still about just before 6am, I was well and truly caught with my pants down... totally unprofessional.

Being the first twitchable Dusky Thrush since 1959, desperate times call for desperate measures and so, with balls of steel, I was watching the first-winter female Dusky Thrush in Margate cemetery by mid afternoon: -

first-winter female Dusky Thrush Margate, Kent 18th May 2013
Remarkably, this was my second new British and Irish lifer of 2013 (after the Pine Grosbeak) - equal to my year end total for 2012 (Western Orphean Warbler and Belted Kingfisher). Don't really like talking about lists, but two new birds by mid-May is exceptional these days. Obviously this Dusky Thrush was a top bird as all thrushes generally are, but nothing looks wise on the first-winter male I saw in the sparkling Belgian snow in January 2009. Allow me to reminisce: -

first-winter male Dusky Thrush Erezee, Belgium January 2009
I was back in Wiltshire by early evening, while back in London this evening a trip to Crossness revealed absolutely nothing. It was a year today that the first of two Bonaparte's Gulls turned up down there so, with that in mind, I at least wanted to have a look through the Black-headed Gulls but predictably to no avail. Reason for no posts for a while? Stale local birding with no birds. Highlight last weekend were a couple of Wheatears.

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