I was stuck at home all on Saturday with builders doing some repairs to our house, so I was none too pleased when photos started appearing on my Facebook news feed of a Black-backed Kingfisher
that had been found on my local patch. There have been a couple of other records of this stonking little Kingfisher on my patch, the others that I am aware of also falling in mid-September and concerned one-day birds.
Needless to say, first light on Sunday morning found me checking out the area where "BB King" had been seen, but without success. I'm always torn in these situations about how much I actually care about seeing "somebody else's bird", so after my initial search I headed off to other areas of the park to see what I could find. Things were initially slow but then took a turn for the better when I found a male Siberian Blue Robin
(my earliest autumn record by six days) which was followed by five Brown Shrikes
scattered throughout the park, a pair of Arctic Warblers
and a three Yellow-rumped Flycatchers
- not a bad tally, autumn has officially arrived!
My return journey to the car park took me past the area where the Black-backed Kingfisher had been and I met a couple of photographers who had seen it within the last 20 minutes. A little bit of patient scanning and a few minutes later I relocated it - WHAT A BIRD!
OK, so the photo will not win any prizes, but the light was awful and I had other commitments that meant I could not dedicate as much time to getting better images. But, I think this picture pretty much does it justice as an outrageously gorgeous migrant to get on your patch, though you can't really see the ludicrous neon lilac rump and edges to the rear crown.
I went back to the park in the early evening to take my 7 year old god daughter biking. Whilst taking a break in an open area I saw a flock of circa 10 small "grey" starlings fly low over the park -
presumably Purple-backed Starlings
, but seen without binoculars...