I’m not one really to “twitch”, but when a bird turns up from Asia or similarly far afield, and it’s not too far away, I’ll always pop along out of interest and maybe get some photos along the way. Most vagrants don’t show well enough to get decent photos, so when I heard a black throated thrush had been spotted in Whipsnade Zoo’s grounds and had been comfortably hanging out, eating berries for a good few days, I thought I’d give it a go.
The day I went, no one had reported the thrush being around so I was worried that after three weeks of daily shows, it had finally had enough. I managed to combine the trip with a family day out, letting the family check out the aquarium and butterflies while I scoured the edge of the pig pen where it had been seen daily. I soon found two nice chaps who told me that it is still around and that I would likely get to see it. Not more than 5 minutes later, a redwing popped out from the cotoneaster tree they had been feeding and seemingly roosting in and not long after, the black throated thrush.
It’s a really smart looking bird. The black, greys and whites and that gorgeous yellow/orange beak. It came out several times, feeding on the berries right in front of us. Passersby stopped and showed interest in the bird, asking what it was and where it was from originally. Who knows! China? Kazakhstan? The Middle East? All very exciting and very far away.
It’s usually with mixed feelings when seeing a bird that’s lost its way as they usually have the cards stacked against them – too cold, no food, no one to get funky with. This guy however, seemed happy and likely flew over with redwing from Siberia for example.