May 2nd, 2009, 03:35 PM
Can U help?
I was out walking my dog this lunchtime and went to a local wildlife reserve which consists of two small lakes which you can walk around surrounded by woodland, linked by a linear strip of woodland. The reserve lies near a much larger area of parkland, but is surrounded by suburban housing.
Both lakes are packed full of all sorts of water birds, herons, swans, Canadian geese and the woodland is also full of the usual suspects. However, this morning I saw a bird I didnt recognise at all. I thought at first perhaps it was a jay- as it was multicoloured - but it had no blue on its wings at all. It was about jay size, with what seemed like a medium sized slightly curved ( down) beak. It had a grey body ( solid colour) with either a black throat or black head ( well there was black somewhere around head area!!), brown wings and a flash of red in there somewhere - as I caught its short flight between trees. The tail was quite long and rounded. It flew into a tree near me- it didnt seem at all worried as I walked up- it peered about curiously, but then decided to go- flying off between the trees in a magpie like way. It was quite shadowy in the wood and I was looking up against sky, but it was large bird. Ive looked on the rspb identifier and can see nothing like it- nor in my books.
Im going to have to go back and see if its still there unless someone can help!!
May 2nd, 2009, 07:19 PM
Hi, there are parts of your description that sounds a bit like a Hoopoe (eg a bit like a jay or magpie in flight but with grey body and slightly curved beak). Hoopoes have black and white wings whereas you describe brown wings but perhaps you were confusing the body colour with the wings in flight?
May 2nd, 2009, 07:34 PM
Oddly enough Andy, Hoopoe came to mind with me (they can look very drab - grey in UK lighting) as well, but I would take bets on this being a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The "flash of red" takes the biscuit !
May 3rd, 2009, 10:58 AM
Thanks for responding and your suggestions but you know I think Im going to have to go back with a camera as Im beginning to doubt my memory now! I know there was solid grey, brown, black around its throat and/or head and a flash of red in the wings. No white anywhere either. The nearest in my bird books were a cuckoo- but this bird had too much brown grey and black and red and colour was solid not barred, Siberian Jay - but thats not possible and thats got no black, or even a dove of some description- but the tail was too long and we have so many doves and pigeons about Im pretty familiar with them.
It wasnt a woodpecker - tail too long and colour all different and Ive seen those before.
It was definately diferent from anything Ive seen before so I shall have to go back and hope it wasnt just passing through!! Gosh birds can be so frustrating!! I'll keep you posted!!
May 3rd, 2009, 04:43 PM
Could you do a sketch and post it?
May 3rd, 2009, 04:47 PM
Yes, if you saw red, that would rule out Hoopoe and a Great-spotted Woodpecker seems a good candidate. Let's hope you can get a photo.
May 3rd, 2009, 10:35 PM
Hmmm, dont think I can do a sketch - as I say I'm beginning to wonder what I saw now! Went back this evening in the vain hope that perhaps it would be hanging about, but alas nothing.
Having scoured on line identifiers as well as my books I would have to say the red would be more rusty red, but the memory is fading. I know it was something I havent seen before and I stood there watching it for quite while trying to commit everything to memory as I had no camera, no pen or paper!! Hypnosis is probably the only answer! I am a bit annoyed now as I shall never know. Dang it.
Thanks for your help though. And if by any chance I see it again I'll let you know.
May 4th, 2009, 02:18 PM
Don't you hate it when this happens? I've been in this situation a few times. Gone somewhere without binoculars or even had them and had a good enough view to commit a few id points to memory only to find I couldn't id when I got home. I have been very lucky with return visits. You still may have a chance. Go back at least three more times as soon as you can. You may get lucky.
May 8th, 2009, 03:06 PM
I took your advice Sue-o and went back again.
I did see a jay ( or maybe two) this time- so perhaps I was hallucinating when I saw the original bird. I shall say it was a jay and then I dont have to think about it anymore!!! Do jays make a 'chook chook ' noise by the way?
I also saw a woodpecker this time, gone before I could catch any detail other than red, black and white. Very hard to identify things when the light is dappled and trees are blowing in the wind!
But, the swifts are back today!! They nest in our roof - and its a reminder that summer is supposed to be here...