Tuesday, 8 November 2011

He be up yon Wurzel tree

First, apologies for the quality of this picture. I took it at 3pm, when it should still have been light, but as it never really did get light I used ISO 3200, and took it on f 6.3 at 1/30th sec, the equivalent of what Dave Cotteridge used to call f8 for a something fortnight. Even so the point I want to make about this Blackbird is quite clear. On Autumn watch Chris Packham been talking about male blackbirds with black, or at least, dull bills. I've had quite a big influx of Blackbirds in the garden today and at least two where obviously males but the beaks showed little sign of yellow or orange. I can't find anything about other races that migrate here with duller bills in BWP or the in the Helm Thrushes monograph. The influx of Blackbirds from Northern and North-Eastern Europe should belong to the same sub-species (race) that we have here, Turdus merula merula, and I can find no references to them having different coloured bare parts. This bird does show a slight yellowish eye-ring. By this stage of the winter I think first year birds from the UK already show yellow bills, but I suppose some may be a bit delayed.


Joe Beale said...

I'm still seeing 1st-winter Blackbirds with all dark bills, that haven't progressed to the orangey bills yet, but no way of knowing if they're immigrant birds or not! Btw the photo isn't bad, no need to be apologetic - but then I have a crappy digital camera that I hold up close to my 'scope and just hope for the best, so what do I know... :-)

Phil said...

I've noticed similar birds in my garden recently Tony. I assumed they were young males but with an influx of migrant birds arriving at the same time I wasn't and still aren't entirely sure.