Saturday, 25 January 2014

More Manor Farm Bird Ringing - 25th January 2014

This morning I headed back to Manor Farm Country Park for a spot of bird ringing, and for a change I was accompanied by a nearly full complement of trainees. We started early, with the aim of getting the nets up before first light, in the hope of catching some winter thrushes. The session didn't start as well as hoped due to equipment failure,  but the first net round still produced two Redwing, a Blackbird, a Song Thrush, a Wren and two Dunnocks. The second net round wasn't much better; the highlight this time being a new female Goldcrest. Another Redwing made the effort almost worthwhile, but there was really not much more to report.

All of the Redwing were aged as first year birds, or age code 5, so I took a couple of photos of one.

Head Shot of Redwing at Manor Farm Country Park

Close up of Greater Coverts showing Large Thorns on Juvenile Coverts

Pointed Tail Feathers of Juvenile Redwing

During the session we caught four recoveries, three Dunnocks and a Blackbird. The two longest recoveries were both Dunnocks, one was originally ringed on the 9th April 2011 and the other on 12th February 2012, so 2 years 291 days and 1 year 337days since ringing. By the end of the session we had ringed nine species, but unfortunately had added no House Sparrows for my RAS project.

I did also hear back from BTO HQ this week about one of the nestling Barn Swallows that I had ringed in the summer. This bird had been ringed in the nest on 2nd June 2013 and was retrapped on the 25th August seven kilometres to the south-west, 84 days later. Not the longest distance recovery, but it is nice to know that one of my birds successfully fledged.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

In Search of Winter Birds, Day 4 - Norfolk 2014

Day four of our winter birding trip started a bit more leisurely as we had to clean the cottage before we left. But as with any keen birders we kept a keen eye out for birds, and by the time we were ready to go the notable species recorded were a flock of 60 golden plover, several curlew and a greylag goose. With the cottage cleaned our first stop was the village of Flitcham.

Abbey Farm at Flitcham has become a regular haunt for us on our winter trips as it has become one of the few guaranteed sites for Tree Sparrows, and occasionally Little Owls. There had been a heavy overnight frost so we approached the site with caution as the roads were very icy. There are bird feeders around the car park but these were empty so we wandered along the road, listening for Tree Sparrows. The hedges were full of finches, Bramblings, Chaffinches, Reed Buntings and a small flock of House Sparrows, but alas no Tree Sparrows. We did however get some tantalising views of a couple of birds that probably were, but they just would not show themselves. Before leaving we had a quick look from the hide for Little Owls, but unfortunately we were not in luck. We did see our first Sparrowhawk of the trip, and some good views of a couple of mad January Hares, but that was about all.

Our next stop was Thornham where there has been a Short-eared Owl wintering. When we arrived it was immediately evident that our plans were going to have to change, as repair works were being carried out on the sea defences (our usual viewing spot). We scanned the salt marsh and creeks and picked up the usual wader species including Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Curlew and Common Redshank. Rock Pipit was a new species for the trip, and we recorded five coming into a small building to bathe and drink water in the guttering. A very tame Little Egret gave some great views, but despite our best efforts there was no sign of a Short-eared Owl.

Little Egret - Thornham, Norfolk

Little Egret - Thornham, Norfolk

Hunstanton was to be our final stop before heading home. We had hoped to go back to Edgehill for a second attempt at the Glaucous Gull and Parrot Crossbills, but we just did not have the time. Hunstanton was worth the stop though as we added Common Eider, Northern Fulmar and Slavonian Grebe to the trip list, and also saw a handful of Gannets and Red-throated Divers and several Grey Seals were loafing just offshore.

So we ended the trip having seen 127 species in three and half days of birding, starting in Suffolk and heading up to the north Norfolk coast. We had seen three species of crossbill, three species of diver and four species of grebe. We had nearly cleaned up on the waders, Purple Sands eluded us, and had seen a good mix of passerines. We had not seen any Bewick's or Whooper Swans, no Short-eared or Little Owls and no Bean Geese, so maybe with a bit more luck, and time we could have got over 130 species, which we have only achieved once before. But for us it was as much about the social as the birding and we are already planning our visit next year.

Monday, 20 January 2014

In Search of Winter Birds, Day 3 - Norfolk 2014

We awoke to heavy and persistent rain on day 3, which we had expected. The forecast suggested that it would clear by 10am, and so undaunted by the weather we still headed out at our usual time, and just hoped that we would be able to find some sheltered spots.

Choseley Barns
Our aim was to go to the RSPB reserve of Titchwell, and on our way called into Choseley Barns looking for corn buntings. Unfortunatley once again there were none, but the small flock of house sparrows was still there along with a flock of around 40 brambling. We did also add yellowhammer to our trip list as a single bird was feeding on some freshly spilt corn.

The rain was still falling heavily when we arrived at Titchwell, so we staggered our birding, starting first at the covered area overlooking the feeders, then headed out to the first hide. A very large female hen harrier was feeding over the fresh marsh west of the reserve, but not much else was visible. What was visible again was the extent of damage caused by the recent storm surge, which fortunately appeared not to have breached the sea defences protecting the main part of the reserve. The islands were crammed with lapwing and golden plover, and after a bit of scanning we picked out pied avocets, black-tailed godwits, snipe and ruff and of course the usual duck species. 

Pied Avocet and Shoveler - Titchwell

Pied Avocets, Lapwing, Black-headed Gulls and Black-tailed Godwits - Titchwell

After a while the rain appeared to have eased and so we headed up to the beach to scan the sea. The destruction in this part of the reserve was very evident, the dunes by the beach had mostly gone, and the boardwalk leading to the beach was badly damaged and unusable. The last scrape had also been completely flooded and most of the islands had gone, but some waders were still using it, including three spotted redshanks. On the sea there were the usual large flocks of common scoter, red-breasted merganser and goldeneye. Red-throated divers were regularly passing, but the surprise was a great skua, that dropped onto the sea and began bathing. We continued to scan and picked out some velvet scoter in with the commons and then a red-necked grebe appeared. It fed just offshore before flying out to sea. Many species of wader were feeding on the beach, bar-tailed godwit, knot, sanderling and common ringed plover, to name a few.

Stiffkey Fen
None of us had been to Stiffkey Fen before, but we had been advised that it was the best place to view Blakeney Harbour, albeit distantly. The fen itself was full of birds, mainly lapwing and black-tailed godwit but also loads of duck. After scanning the fen we headed out to view the harbour and immediately picked up our target birds, great northern and black-throated diver and long-tailed duck. The tide was low and from our viewpoint we could see six long-tailed ducks, in what appeared to be immaculate plumage, but we were just to far away to fully enjoy it. The one black-throated diver soon became five and the one great northern diver became 2 and a guillemot and red-throated diver soon appeared. It seemed ridiculous to see so many birds crammed into such a small area of water feeding, there must be an abundance of food there. Just as we were packing up to leave we spotted our second great skua of the day, and a peregrine flew fast and low over the dunes.

Wells Harbour
We called in to Wells only briefly to catch up with the regular wintering shag, and as usual it was feeding in the channel at low tide. We have been seeing this bird annually for many years, I wonder how long it will continue to turn up.

Holkham (Pines and Lady Anne’s Drive)
Our final stop of the day was Holkham. We first headed out to the dunes in search of snow buntings, as they are a regular winter visitor here. Initially we could not see them but then a flock of about 40 birds were picked up in the distance. The were flying in from the beach and headed towards us, landing briefly before taking flight again and and heading off. They landed again, but were getting flushed continuously by walkers and dogs.

With the light fading fast we headed back to Lady Anne’s Drive, three barn owls were quartering over the fields. These were the first barn owls of our trip which is very surprising for a winter Norfolk trip, they are usually much commoner. 

Pink-footed Geese leaving at Dusk

We were hoping to see woodcock as they emerge from the woods at dusk, but as the sun set and thousands of pink-footed geese dropped in, our attention was unsurprisingly diverted. We patiently waited, but it was in vain, no woodcocks appeared, at least not from the area where we were standing. It was not all bad though, as for the second night running we were given excellent views of the planet of Jupiter and treated to an amazing sunset.

Sunset over Lady Anne's Drive, Holkham

It was too dark to continue now so we headed back to our cottage, we had recorded 93 species of bird, bringing our total for the trip so far to 122.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

In Search of Winter Birds, Day 2 - Norfolk 2014

After a very hearty breakfast we headed out for a full days birding. As usual we had our target species to aim for, but the day was subject to change as and when we picked up additional news.

Choseley Drying Barns
Choseley Drying barns was our first stop, since this was just down the road from our accommodation at Great Bircham, and was usually a reliable site for corn and other buntings. On route to the barns we picked up a distant flock of pink-footed geese, numbering several thousand birds, red-legged and grey partridges. At the barns there were very few birds, a small flock of house sparrows, a chaffinch and a flock of golden plovers in the field, but sadly no buntings! With nothing much to see we headed off to our next stop, which was Blakeney Harbour. On the way we picked out a few species including a flock of Eurasian white-fronted geese, greylag geese and curlew.

Eurasian White-fronted Geese and Graylag Goose

Blakeney Harbour
There had been recent records from Blakeney Harbour of black-throated and great northern divers, long-tailed ducks and slavonian grebe, so this was to be out next stop. We were not entirely sure where we were going, so we headed for Blakeney village and walked out from there. The devastation caused by the recent storm surge and floods was evident everywhere, sea defences had been breached in several places and debris was strewn across the landscape, including in the tops of the trees.

Heading out from the village it was evident that we were not going to get the views of the harbour that we wanted, nonetheless we did mange to see a few new species including a variety of song birds and waders.

Cley (Glaven Valley)
We next headed towards the part of the Glaven valley, by the Three Swallows pub, where a glossy ibis had been frequenting. As we turned the corner and small gathering of birders highlighted where the bird was, and as we drove past to park we all saw it. Unfortunately a quick view was all we got, because as we got out of our cars and got out our optics, the bird took flight, fortunately I did manage to get a couple of shots before it headed off.

Glossy Ibis - In the Glaven Valley, Cley

Next to Kelling, and the site of a wintering Richard’s Pipit. The bird had been frequenting an area known as Kelling Hard, but after the recent floods the whole area was now covered in debris. We worked the area hard but did not manage to find the pipit, in fact the highlight of our visit was three stonechats.

The groynes at Sheringham are know as a reliable place to see purple sandpiper’s, and so this was our next stop. The town was quite busy as was the beach, and being low tide there were people and dogs, running everywhere. Despite the disturbance we did see several turnstones on the groynes, but unfortunately no purps! There was a bit of movement off shore, with a few red-throated divers and guillemots passing by, the lone gannet was the highlight for us since that was a new addition to the list.

Our next stop was Edgehill, firstly to try and see the parrot crossbills, although we had seen them already, we were keen to see these birds as they were showing very well. Secondly, we were keen to catch up with the glaucous gull that has been regularly seen at the landfill site. As it happened  we didn’t see either, but did add a few new species to the trip list, marsh tit, gold crest and red kite. We had been told of a red kite roost at Hunworth, and were aiming to head that way; the birds we saw were all heading towards Hunworth, so presumably birds heading for the roost.

We headed for the centre of the village at Hunworth, and as we pulled in immediately picked four red kites circling over a small pine plantation behind the village. The birds were hanging in the wind and circling over the wood, a couple drifted off but soon returned, and in the end there were nine birds hanging around, before going into roost, one by one.

Red Kite - Hunworth

Five Red Kites at Roost near Hunworth

By the end of the day we had recorded 81 species, bringing our grand total for our trip so far to 100, not bad for two days birding in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

In Search of Winter Birds, Day 1 - January 2014

So here we are again, back in East Anglia for our annual winter visit to Norfolk. The day began with an early start for each of us from our respective homes, aiming to arrive at our first destination for 8am.

Spink's Lodge, Thetford Forest
Our first stop was Spink's Lodge in Thetford Forest where that have been regular sightings of parrot crossbills. The birds have been coming into an oak tree within the grounds of the lodge along with numerous common crossbills. We arrived at the lay-by just opposite the track leading to the lodge at just after 8am, and after a short walk were at the site. Common crossbills were already present, coming into an oak tree right next to the lodge to drink and pick at the lichen covered branches. 

Male Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Birds were continually coming and going and in all we estimated that we had seen something in the region of 40 different birds.

Male Common Crossbill

However it was not long before our first, second and then third parrot crossbill dropped in. We first picked up the birds on call, but once in the oak tree they stood out from the common's due to their larger heads, particularly their stockier necks and massive bills. As with the common crossbills the parrots spent most of their time just sitting in the top of the tree calling, before dropping down to drink. We were able to get some cracking views of the parrots before they departed.

Santon Downham
Our next stop was Santon Downham where there had recently been a large flock of bramblings. On arrival there did not appear to be many birds around, but before long we hand picked a handful of brambling. The birds were feeding in the beech mast along the line of the railway, along with chaffinch's, great and blue tits and nuthatch's. Having ticked off the ramblings we headed off for a walk along the river. Siskin's and lesser redpolls were present in the alder wood, a water rail was a welcome surprise and a couple of fly over common crossbills, and a kingfisher added to our daily total.

Lynford Arboretum
Our next stop was Lyford Arboretum, which has been the place to see two-barred crossbills of late. Four or five birds arrived in November and since that time there have been regular sightings. This year they have become less reliable, but we still decided to give it a go. We parked in the Lynford Water car park and headed into the arboretum. Almost immediately we picked up a group of crossbillls in the trees, one of which showed features suggesting it was a two-barred. The bird was a male, it appeared slightly smaller in size and had a smaller bill. On initial impressions the bird looked good, it had well defined wing bars that were broad and white, but the tips of the tertials were only slightly edged white. I have to admit that I was not convinced by the identity of this bird, since the lack of well defined tertial tips could suggest it was a wing-barred common crossbill. The broadness, and coloration of the wing bars clearly pointed to this bird being a two-barred, as did the smaller size of the bird. Since seeing the bird I have heard of various discussions with local and Scandinavian birders and have been told that the consensus of opinion was that this bird was indeed a two-barred and probably a first year male. Unfortunately I do not have images of this bird as I spent most of my time watching it, but it would appear that this bird may indeed be a two-barred.

Lakenheath Fen
We ended our day with a wander around Lakenheath Fen. There has been a significant harrier roost here, comprising a confirmed maximum of 26 birds, seven of which have been hen harriers. We arrived at just after 14:30 and headed off to the furthest part of the reserve. Surprisingly there were not many birds to be seen on the way, but marsh harriers were already evident. The birds were floating over the reed bed, wheeling around and grappling with each other. As the light faded two common cranes appeared over the dyke and headed towards us. They kept low over the reedbed before dropping into the paddock to feed.

Common Cranes at Lakenheath Fen

Once they had landed the cranes were out of site, but our attention was soon diverted to our first hen harrier. This bird was noticeably smaller than the accompanying marsh harriers and quartered over the reedbeds giving us excellent views. Initially we thought it was a ringtail, but as the bird got closer we could see paler patches on the upper wing that suggested it was a first year male. Birds continued to arrive and soon there were 18 marsh harriers spiralling around, with the occasional hen harrier.

As the sun set we headed back to the car, a very vocal Cetti's warbler toyed with us for a while but did not show itself, so we headed off to our accommodation in Norfolk. By the end of the day we had seen 64 species, with the target species, parrot crossbill, well and truly etched on the list.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Mealy Redpolls at Blashford Lakes - January 2014

A recent visit to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts Blashford Lakes reserve gave me the opportunity to pop into the woodland hide to look at the visiting finches. The feeders are a popular place for visiting birders as you can get great views of a variety of species, especially lesser redpolls, siskins and bramblings, although there have been none of the latter recorded so far this year. Siskins too have been thin on the ground, but there are good numbers of lesser redpolls coming to the feeders, despite the mild weather. There has also been reports of a mealy redpoll frequenting the feeders and fortunately for me it was there as I entered the hide.

Mealy Redpoll Carduelis flammea (first bird)

The bird was very obvious amongst the lesser's since it was larger and paler with pale fringing to the wing feathers and an obvious white rump. The wingbar formed by the greater coverts was also broad and white, and an obvious white tramline was present on the mantle. Looking at the pointed shape of the tail feathers on this bird it appeared that it was a first winter bird.

Mealy Redpoll (first bird)

After a while the Mealy flew off, but before long it appeared to be back again. However, looking at this bird it did not have the overall grey tones of the first bird, the mantle was warmer brown in tone and the streaking on the flanks was not as bold. Looking more closely at the bird the white fringing on the tertials and tips of the primaries was broader. The white rump on this bird was more heavily streaked than the first bird, but this is not visible in the photo below.

Mealy Redpoll (second bird)

For comparison, below is an image of a typical lesser redpoll. The plumage of this bird is much warmer brown in its tone and heavily streaked. The wing bars are buff coloured and the flanks are boldly streaked and brown. Most birds tend to lack the white tramlines down the mantle, but not all.

Lesser Redpoll C. cabaret

Redpolls are notoriously variable in their plumage and therefore care needs to be taken when identifying them. A recent article published the the birding journal British Birds (Volume 106, December 2013) provides an interesting insight into the complexities of redpolls and is worth a read. The image below shows the variation in three birds seen during my visit to Blashford Lakes.

Lesser Redpolls and Eurasian Siskin

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you do get some excellent views of birds on the feeders, so it is definitely worth a visit. But please remember that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is a charity and needs your support, so make sure you leave a donation to help pay for the bird food.

Eurasian Siskin

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Glaucous Gull, Eastoke Corner, Hayling Island - January 2014

This morning I decided to bird locally and started on the patch checking out the local flood and an old landfill site, but there wasn't much going on. News soon broke of a first winter glaucous gull at Eastoke Corner on Hayling Island, so I decided to go for it. I arrived at where I presumed Eastoke Corner was and immediately picked up the bird flying east along the beach towards me. It passed close by and continued east so I jumped back in the car and drove further east with the aim of walking back along the beach to meet it. My plan sort of worked, as I soon picked up the bird again as it got up off the beach, but instead of flying towards me it headed due south out to sea. I had been hoping the get some photos but unfortunately that was now not going to happen.

Since I was now on Hayling I worked my way along the coast, before heading up to the Oysterbeds. There were several Mediterranean gulls en route, but nothing much else to report. The Oysterbeds were typical of a winter visit with several new species for the year present, black-necked grebe,  slavonian grebe, rock pipit, and the typical mix of wader species. Whilst there I received a text informing that the Glauc was back at Eastoke Point, so as I was so close I headed back. The bird was favouring the beach in front of the large car park at Eastoke Corner, spending much of its time on the beach picking through the debris on the tide line, occasionally taking flight when flushed or on one occasion after bread being thrown out in the car park. The bird remained in the area for most of the time but just as I chose to leave it headed of west. Below are a selection of photos that I managed to get.

First winter Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus Eastoke Corner, Hayling Island
First Winter Glaucous Gull - the plumage on this bird was immaculate
as can be seen in this image
First Winter Glaucous Gull
First Winter Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull - this bird was a bit of a monster, when compared with
the attending Herring Gull this is very evident.
Glaucous Gull - against the backdrop of Portsmouth

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Four Thrush Species in a Morning - Back at Manor Farm

For the second weekend running it was back to Manor Farm in the hope of catching some of the redwings and fieldfares that were there last week. We arrived early to set the nets, putting up two rows of three 18 metre nets and a single 9 metre net. Pre dawn there were redwing and fieldfare calling and moving around, and it wasn't long before we had our first birds. Our first bird was a species that I have only caught a handful of times before........a fieldfare.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

As I previously mentioned, fieldfare is a species that I catch extremely infrequently despite it being an annual winter visitor to the site in good numbers. For ageing and sexing I referred to my trusty Swennson and Jenni and Winkler, so here goes. Adult fieldfares undergo a complete post breeding moult, whereas juveniles only undergo a partial moult. However, Svensson states that many birds (though not all) do not complete the moult of their juvenile greater coverts. There was no obvious break in the greater coverts on this bird which was an indication that it was an adult.


As with many species the shape of the tail feathers is a useful indication, with adult feathers being broad and rounded, whereas first year feathers are pointed. This bird had very broad and rounded tail feathers and therefore due to the combination of features it was aged as an adult.

Broad Adult Type Tail Feathers of the Fieldfare

For sexing fieldfares Svensson describes the pattern of the crown feathers as a useful feature; male feathers are generally dark centred, whereas female feathers have the dark area restricted to the central shaft, and the base, where it is slightly broader. Svensson also states that where this is ambiguous the colouration of the tail feathers is useful. In males the tail feathers are black to blackish whereas female tail feathers are dull dark brownish-olive.

Head of Fieldfare

Given the black colouration of the tail feathers on this bird and the extent of black in the crown feathers, we sexed it as a male. The numbers of birds present was nowhere near those recorded last week, nonetheless the next round did produce a retrap blackbird, the first two redwing of the year and a new song thrush. 


There was still a mixed flock of finches feeding in the top fields of which single greenfinch and goldfinch were caught, and a small mixed tit flock boosted the numbers a little. Another species that we don't catch very often is collared dove, and today one bird was caught. The eye of this bird was bright ruby red, the legs bright red and there were no pale fringed feathers present in the plumage, we therefore aged it as an adult. I used to catch quite a few collared doves in my garden, but in recent years they seem to have declined, probably as a result of the local sparrowhawk which used to be a regular visitor.

Male Collared Dove

By the end of the session we had caught 18 birds, 15 new and three retraps, of 13 species. The three retraps were an adult male blackbird that was originally ringed on the 15th September 2013, a long-tailed tit that was originally ringed on the 11th April 2010, and a blue tit that was originally ringed on the 3rd January 2011. The complete list of species was blackbird (1), redwing (2), fieldfare (1), blue tit (5), great tit (1), song thrush (1), dunnock (1), long-tailed tit (1), goldfinch (1), greenfinch (1), collared dove (1), carrion crow (1) and robin (1).

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Finally Some Bird Ringing - Manor Farm Country Park January 2014

The recent rainfall and gale force winds have been extremely frustrating for me since it has been impossible to do any bird ringing. So when the forecast for Sunday 5th January looked calm and still, I went for it. Unfortunately my trainees were all busy and so I decided to go to Manor Farm Country Park and try for some more house sparrows. I had been advised that the fields were saturated and best avoided so I set my nets around the farm, and in similar locations to those used just before the Christmas break.

The session itself was pretty quiet and in two hours I only caught 10 birds, five of which were retraps. The species caught were dunnock (3), house sparrow (3), blackbird (2), and single wren and robin. The three house sparrows were all retraps with the oldest being a female that was originally ringed on 6th November 2010, 3 years and 60 days previously.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris - Manor Farm Country Park

I shouldn't have listened to the advise about the fields, as in between net rounds I wandered up into the fields to see hundreds of winter thrushes. The birds were feeding in another of my normal trapping areas and when flushed flew low into the nearby was very frustrating. There were at least 500 redwing, about 150 fieldfare and a mixed flock of finches that included 35 greenfinch, seven goldfinch and a couple of bullfinch.

With the wind now picking up and rain beginning once again I decided to call it a day, but rather than heading home I nipped down to Titchfield Haven for a spot of birding. There have been a couple of velvet scoter hanging around off shore since the autumn; they were still there as was a distant great northern diver. Other highlights included 15 sanderling, 20 dunlin, 100 oystercatchers and one bar-tailed godwit.

On Saturday 4th a local birder reported a presumed Siberian Chiffchaff along the boardwalk on the east side of the Haven. The bird was calling well and showed the distinctive pale grey brown upperparts, pale underparts and a good wing bar, so pretty conclusive. On Sunday morning, whilst trying for reed buntings Barry Duffin trapped a bird that showed some features that looked good for a 'tristis' type chiff, but this bird did not show a wing bar and therefore it was considered that it may be a different bird to that reported.

Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis (B Duffin)

As can be seen from the pictures the bird does have a greyish tinge to the upperparts, but most of the feathers are fringed green. The supercilium had a yellow hue to it, the carpel joint was strongly tinged yellow and the ear coverts were dark.

Chiffchaff Underparts (B Duffin)

The most striking feature of this bird was the colouration of the underparts, which were extremely pale except for a slight buff tone to the under tail coverts.

Siberian Chiffchaff (B Duffin)

Unfortunately I did not get to see this bird in the hand, and have yet to see the reported Siberian Chiffchaff at the Haven, and initially I did have my reservations about this bird. But having chatted to the local birder who found the bird at the Haven, and following discussions with other birders, it seems that this bird is indeed a 'tristis'.

I have to admit it has been a while since I have seen one and I was originally being slightly cautious in my original post. Interestingly, it is considered that this bird is indeed the same individual that was recorded the day before being caught, yet in the hand it appears the lack the wing bar which was very visible in the field.
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