Monday 20 May 2013

Dusky Thrush in Kent

The Dusky Thrush at Margate - a similar pose to the first image I saw on opening Steve Tomlinson's email!

Despite a call on the BirdGuides hotline from Kent birder Steve Tomlinson at around 22:00 on Friday evening describing a strange thrush that he'd seen in Margate cemetery, I must admit that I still had a bit of a shock when he emailed over a bunch of shots apparently depicting female Dusky Thrush - what was worse that it had apparently been present since Wednesday! Following a couple of follow-up phone calls (including to Will at RBA), we decided to run with the news at around 23:00 and the rest is history.

Needless to say, the bird was still present the next morning although I was again working on the news. Alan T kindly agreed to take over at 12:30 and I met Kit Day shortly after at the utterly offensive Lakeside Retail Park in Thurrock. Ninety minutes later, we were watching the thrush and, although it was pretty elusive at times, it eventually showed well late afternoon as the crowds dispersed.

There's been quite a bit of discussion about the purity of this bird, though it's really hard to find any sort of quality literature and photographs of Dusky Thrushes in general (let alone second calendar-year females), but this one has quite a bit of rufous in the flanks while this one is a dead ringer for the Kent bird. The plot is thickened by the fact that at least one Chinese birder seems to think it is an integrade - not with Naumann's, but perhaps with Black-throated Thrush! Must admit I never realised these Asian thrushes couldn't keep the the snake in the basket, so to speak.

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