Dusky Thrush, Brixham, 26/10/13 - 02/11/13

A first winter Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) was found in the back garden of a semi-detached house in a small housing estate in Brixham, Devon at lunchtime on the 26th October 2013. According to a resident it may have been present the day before. It was last seen on the 2nd November 2013, and despite searching has not been seen since. During this time it frequented six gardens on the estate and was not seen to go elsewhere.

Dusky Thrush (c) Josh Marshall

Dusky Thrush (c) Josh Marshall

I thought about releasing the news but immediately realised the bird could not be seen from any public area. It favoured the shrubs at the back of the properties, which were only visible from within the houses themselves. The potential impact of perhaps several hundred visitors on the residents’ privacy was also considered. Indeed, a straw poll of some of the home owners was taken as to whether to release the news and the results were all negative. Similar advice was received from the local Police about the potential impact of visitors’ cars on the surrounding highways. Finally, the occurrence of a twitchable Dusky Thrush in Margate Cemetery earlier in the year was taken into account. With all these things in mind, the difficult decision not to release the news was taken.

Dusky Thrush (c) Mike Langman

Dusky Thrush (c) Mike Langman

The bird fed exclusively on the berries of Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster sp.) and Torbay Palms (Cordyline australis). It initially showed well at times, approaching to within a few metres of the houses on more than one occasion. It would however go missing for long periods to sit in cover, presumably to digest its berry-rich diet. It became progressively more nervous during its stay, and by the 2nd November, the last day it was seen, it had become very jumpy, dropping into cover whenever any of the residents went into their gardens.

Click on this link to see a video of the bird: http://youtu.be/WnCLqH_08LQ

Eds; Discussion on Devon Birds forum please...

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 7:10 pm by Matt Twiggs in General Birding