Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dusky Thrush - shameless twitching in the Chatsworth estate

I headed out of the smoke early this morning with Jamie P and Steve A, with a mission to see the Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire. It is a species I saw lots of in Japan last winter, as well as single birds in Belgium and Kent previously. Despite this though, the notion of a pretty much gimme Dusky Thrush within three hours of London was too much to resist. So off we headed north, arriving at the 'park and ride' at Chatsworth House just outside the village of Beeley.

Beeley is a pretty lovely village, and its narrow streets weren't exactly ideal for the anorak clad masses, including an ever increasing bunch of geriatrics, to park. So the kind locals sorted out a much better alternative and laid on a complimentary bus service courtesy of the wonderfully hospitable Dukes Barn. And it was within the grounds of this place that we all stood to overlook a small apple orchard - which thankfully didn't have any bookings for kids the week just gone and therefore access was possible. What's more, while the crowd waited, every twenty minutes or so there was an offering of bacon and sausage sandwiches - very nice and British!

Anyway, the first-winter female Dusky Thrush was showing on arrival as it was tucked up in a tangle of branches. It was fairly elusive, and ended up showing itself fairly well on three occasions during the morning - either on the ground pecking for earthworms or on one occasion landing nicely on a tree at fairly close range: -
Dusky Thrush Beeley, Derbyshire 11th December 2016
Certainly brighter than the Kent bird, but then again it would be if you compare December vs May. Although if this individual decided to head south and winter in Spain or Morocco, I doubt there'd be too much in it come May next year. But anyway, a really nice bird and good to see a few people; crowd behaviour was good although I think a fair number of the crowd probably needed to get hearing aids as the noise level was absurd at times. And extra value was provided by some chump taking some shots of a Redwing early on and asking 'is that it?', followed two minutes later when he declared a flyover Kestrel as a Sparrowhawk because it has 'rounded wings'. Not really sure what he got out of the whole experience but anyway, here are a couple more shots of this mega Asian thrush...

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