23 October 2006

Uncommon Mistle Thrushes

I saw a Mistle Thrush today, high in a tree by a churchyard as I took a lunchtime stroll in Henley-in-Arden. I did not see it well - I had no binoculars with me, and the bird was very high up - but the dry churring call was unmistakeable.

I knew it was some time since I had seen one, but I was amazed to go back through my records and find that this was my first since October 2005. Even more amazingly, the vast majority of my sightings have been while on holiday. Warwickshire sightings have been confined to fairly regular winter encounters in Henley-in-Arden, a June sighting in Long Itchington, and a solitary October sighting at Leam Valley.

Technically this is a fairly common bird, but clearly not so on my patch. They do have notably large breeding territories, so one never finds them in large densities, but I would have expected a few more local sightings over the last three years. Offchurch Bury Estate in particular should suit the species since it favours open parkland and woodland with mature fields. I shall keep my eyes open with renewed vigour for this large and powerful thrush.

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