The Red-billed Leiothrix (or Pekin Robin to aviculturists) is something you'd normally expect to see on the Indian Subcontinent but, thanks to a helping hand from man, this stunning species has colonized a handful of spots in Spain, France and Italy where it is eagerly sought by tick-hungry Western Palearctic birders such as myself. Here are a few shots of some of the several Leiothrix we saw along the River Serchio near Lucca, Tuscany on Sunday 5th May:
Cat C species aren't to everyone's taste, and some of the targets on our
Italian trip (Northern Bobwhite, Sacred Ibis and Vinous-throated Parrotbill) will certainly raise a few eyebrows among those who like their wildlife a little more 'natural'. We only had shit views of the bobwhites and the ibises were admittedly rather unpleasant, but the parrotbills were pretty characterful!
Believe it or not, we did see some real birds too (not photographed; too wary!) that included several Rock Partridges plus nice Med stuff like Collared Flycatchers, Red-backed Shrikes, Wrynecks, Golden Orioles and so on - I hope to produce a full trip report in the coming days/weeks which will detail all the sites you need to fill your boots with non-native goodness.