Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lyme Black Red Update (Updated!)

Well I was planning to go to Chew Valley Lake today, it took me an hour to get to Chard, and I couldn't really be arsed so was thinking about turning back. See, I told you I was the world's worst twitcher!

Anyway, the final straw came when Mike Langman phoned me, expressing interest in that Black Red - I'm glad at least one person reads my blog! (cheers Matt ;-0)... Anyway, I headed for Lyme Regis instead!

It didn't take long until I saw it, but it was bloody elusive at times and could be a right bugger to pin down. I somehow flukily managed a pic of the underwing coverts though! And when I looked at the pici on my camera screen they looked nicely orange, but when I got home and got them up on my laptop, as you can see below they aren't much more than buffy. Still, it is a very interesting bird, and nice to see it causing some interest this afternoon....

But is it the real McCoy?

Unfortunately not one of my pics show the wing formula - which apparently would pretty much clinch it. Drat!

As well as the obvious, there's another thing I think looks just a bit odd with it - its head and face. I can't quite put my finger on what, but there's something 'not typical Black Red' about it.

UPDATE: I have a picture, and a cracking one at that, from Dave Helliar, which shows the primaries...

I think this rules out a hybrid doesn't it!??


  1. I know what you mean about the head and face, I think it looks more like that of a Common Redstart, so probably a hybrid?

  2. Hey Karen - thanks for the comment. Yeah, even though I haven't a real clue - that's where I would put my money. Although why the big pale wing flashes?? Unless it has hybridised with a samamisicus!!

  3. Steve, when you say 'is this the real McCoy' and that the wing formula would 'pretty much clinch it', are you referring to clinching its identity as a Black Redstart as opposed to a Black x Common hybrid, or do you mean something else...something

    As an aside (and you'll have to be patient with me on this one as I've not had a chance to chat with you about it) would you be kind enough to explain why Dave's photo rules out a hybrid? I assume it's a wing formula thing, but as a non-ringer I haven't a clue what I should be looking at. I can't be the only one who read your caption of Dave's photo and thought "OK Stevie, if you say so!"

  4. Hey Gav! Sounds like I'm gona have to get a bit technical...this often doesn't end well....

    Okay, when I said 'real McCoy' I was getting at it being one of these firt-winter female-type male Eastern Black Reds (ie not a paradoxus type) See here. Basically a less advanced and way more boring example of the two beauts on the east coast at the moment!

    I learnt yesterday that one of the ways to rule out a RedstartxBlack Red hybrid (which could easily produce a bird that looks like a convincing Eastern Black Red) is the wing formula. As I see and read it, the gaps between primary 5-6 and 6-7 are pretty much equal in Common Redstart, where as in Black Red the gap beteen 6-7 is massive compared with 5-6. Apparently hybrids show a much more Common Redstart-like wing.

    Does that help? My brain hurts....

  5. Yes it does, very helpful. Thanks Steve.

    Shame this bird isn't on the patch!