03
Oct
13

Rufous tailed Robin – Overstrand

Some of you may well have been involved in girding your loins to twitch a ghostly Rufous tailed Robin last week.

Because I’m getting tired of being asked,  … and just to put the record straight, with Tony’s permission, here is what happened.

I was wandering around on Sunday morning and there’s no doubt about it there were birds arriving. In the shelter of the valley at the back of Falcon Cottage the bushes were hanging with Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps all there no doubt having had an easterly wind up their tails overnight. A Yellow browed had flicked through with a tit flock and Ben had also seen another trip through his garden.

I phoned Tony and stated if he wasn’t out already he should be looking. He was doing chores but said he would take a look … and he did.

It was just as I was sitting down to my late breakfast that I received his return call. He had seen something briefly in Overstrand and didn’t know what it was. That was my cue to ignore breakfast and join him.

When I arrived Tony and two others had seen the bird … only briefly. Just Tony had seen the bird perched and confirmed it was small, uniformly grey/brown and had scalloping on the breast. We flicked through the pages of Collins trying to decipher the identity. Nothing resulted. We discussed Rufous tailed Robin but it was discounted as the bird wasn’t seen by Tony to possess an eye-ring. Perhaps others looking for Ben’s Yellow browed in the same area had overheard our conversations? A further search of the copse revealed only a Roe Deer and what was probably some sort of escaped firefinch – very different indeed to the bird seen earlier.

I returned later in the day to find others looking for the bird. The rumour mill had been turning as news had got onto the information services as a Mega – someone had put two and two together and got five and put out tweets that stated there was a Rufous tailed Robin present – a very very silly thing to do! Inconveniencing people who genuinely thought they had a chance of seeing something quite special is not funny. Cars started arriving and no doubt more had set off from locations further afield. Locals had even alerted the police to increasing numbers of cars parked on their roads. The information services were soon put right with a phone call but they then broadcast a message stating the sighting was withdrawn by the observer – er… no it wasn’t! It was never put out by the observer so how can he withdraw it? Is someone trying to save face here?

So just what did Tony see? Who knows. We couldn’t, and he couldn’t work that one out. He did the right thing. He alerted others to help him find something he couldn’t identify on the views he obtained. Quite rightly he didn’t broadcast the news more widely.

What was he supposed to say – “Mega …beep beep beep  poor views of an unidentified bird in Overstrand beep beep beep I have no idea what it is but you may wish to come and look at it?” I don’t think so. If you’re into that sort of message you’re in for a busy time … I alone will be sending out information like that every ten minutes!

So no crippling photos of a Rufous tailed Robin (unfortunately) but another photo of the Red breasted Flycatcher at Trimingham taken this morning …news of which, I may add, was broadcast shortly after being found.

2013 10 03 Red breasted Flycatcher Trimingham Norfolk_Z5A2608

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