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Weird bird song - What could it be

Weird bird song - What could it be


Postby snodland » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:58 am

I just cannot pin down this bird. I have discounted the usual warblers and wheatears, chiff chaffs and whinchats.
It had one of the strangest songs I have ever heard. A two note song that sounded like somebody hitting a piece of metal.
It was on the road up to the Muirshiel Country Park, about a mile from the end of the road. Flitted between fence posts either side of the road alongside the farmland. It might occasionally have sat up on the telegraph wires beside the Goldfinches but I can't recall seeing it there and for the most part it stayed on the fenceposts.

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Finally after spotting Kestrels, Hen Harriers (one only) and several buzzards I trooped back down to Lochwinnoch. At 9.30 in the evening not much was out on the loch but walking along to the railway station this fellow was posing beside the road bridge into Lochwinnoch. No help needed identifying this
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby CharlesT » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:49 am

I think that may be an Isabelline Wheatear, a vagrant to these shores. Good spot if it is.
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby jmarkb » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:16 am

CharlesT wrote:I think that may be an Isabelline Wheatear, a vagrant to these shores. Good spot if it is.


Or maybe just a rather pale female Northern Wheatear??
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby CharlesT » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:06 am

jmarkb wrote:
CharlesT wrote:I think that may be an Isabelline Wheatear, a vagrant to these shores. Good spot if it is.


Or maybe just a rather pale female Northern Wheatear??


We are agreed it's a Wheatear, which is a good start :D . You could be right, but I thought there was insufficient white on the outer tail coverts for a Northern Wheatear female, though could be an immature. The other feature I thought I could discern from the photos was the tiny hook on the upper mandible which is characteristic of an Isabelline, which sent me in that direction. I agree the most likely candidate ought to be the Northern female and we should always be very wary of plumping for rarities in favour of the more likely. My expertise is insufficient to be wholly confident here. Bring on the experts. :D
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby jmarkb » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:10 am

CharlesT wrote: My expertise is insufficient to be wholly confident here.


Mine too! :wink:
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby walk aboot » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:37 am

You are having a lot of luck photographing kingfishers nowadays, Andy 8) . I have also seen a kingfisher around that spot in Lochwinnoch before :D
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby snodland » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:42 am

This one had the decency to stop flying and sit on a rock for me Walk Aboot and for that I am pleased. Normally all I see of the one in the Botanic Gardens is a little blue blur. The number of times I have said to my friend "Ooh look a Kingfisher" and she can't see anything but a flurry of blue charging up or down the Kelvin is starting to stretch her credulity.
Fortunately I have a Flickr follower who takes astonishing photos of Glasgow Urban Wildlife mainly around the Botanic Gardens and I can show her those
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby David-Main » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:43 pm

Its a female wheater . The song you heard, did it sound like 2 stones getting knocked together ?
It probably had a nest nearby and this is their alert sound.
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Re: Weird bird song - What could it be

Postby snodland » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 pm

Wow David that is amazing. I never gave a thought that birds would have a distinctive warning call as well.
After googling Wheatear - warning - sound I also found this site
www.xeno-canto.org/species/Oenanthe-oenanthe
which I suspect I will use again. On the 3rd page of recordings there are several that sound just like the bird I saw. It was quite strange and a bit like two stones. I thought more like metal being struck together and at first I wondered if it was the wire on the metal fence posts. However I think you have found the answer to what it was.
Thanks
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