Posts Tagged ‘Rose Coloured Starling


Garden Visitor

It’s always a treat when something unexpected visits your garden. So it was for Paul and Sue Ryan last weekend. A Rose Coloured Starling visited their garden in Limpenhoe close to Cantley in Norfolk to take pleasure in their fallen apples. But the Rose Coloured Starling wasn’t the only visitor to their garden. Paul and Sue were kind enough to invite all comers to see their bird. A steady stream of birdwatchers came to see their middle east immigrant; and quite confiding it was too.



As I was going to St Ives …

We more or less cleaned up on our tour to Scillies over the last week. Anything that it was possible to see, we saw; with the exception of a Rose Coloured Starling that employed an almost endearing absence each time we went to look for it.
I was therefore delighted to hear that when we disembarked the Scillonian III in Penzance on Wednesday evening one had been seen that evening in nearby St Ives. The following morning we made this our main target.
We wound through the narrow lanes of the ancient fishing village, parked at the appointed car park and trudged up the hill towards the chapel where it had last been seen. Sure, we found a few Starlings but not the particular one we wished to see. I even purchased a nice white loaf of bread …’starling attractant’ … but all I pulled in were the local Herring Gulls. A couple of hours later after seemingly checking every rooftop in the village we decided this particular Starling was using the same Harry Potter cloak of invisibility as the one on St Marys and decided to move on. I hate loosing out!
It was only as we pulled up the narrow roads out of the cove we noticed a large flock of Starlings perched on wires. Surely it was worth a stop and search. It didn’t take long to find the little blighter sitting innocently on a power line; wondering what all the fuss was about no doubt. Success.

2014 10 09 Rose Coloured Starling St Ives Cornwall_Z5A7118


moving out but not moving on

When photographing the Starlings in a previous posting – spot on – I did manage to get a few more shots of Norfolk’s ‘resident’ Rose Coloured Starling. Still moving further out of its juvenile plumage it’s gaining more adult feathers particularly around the throat. As it perched on a garden bird feeder it came closer than I’ve seen it previously; in good light too!

2013 12 04 Rose Coloured Starlings Caister on Sea Norfolk_Z5A4292


Spot on

We were searching for the Rose Coloured Starling at Caister on Sea once more the other day; searching among the thousands of Starlings. Many of the birds have now acquired breeding plumage with pale bills and heavily spotted plumage. The same plumage once gave rise to an old lady telephoning and telling me she had a Nutcracker on her lawn. When Starlings look like this it’s easy to see why she (and others before her and since) made the misidentification.

As we walked the backstreets of Caister the light was magnificent, enabling the pastel colours at the base of the bills to easily be seen; males having blue and females appropriately pink! Just look at the male below, he puffed out his throat feathers and sang his heart out in the afternoon sunshine.

Female Starling

Male Starling



Feather tracts on birds all have fascinating names:, Primaries, Secondaries, Auxilaries, Scapulars and what about the Alula! There’s a whole family of Coverts; Medium, Lesser and Greater. Even the Primaries and Secondaries are split into groups: Inner and outer. The moulting of these feather tracts the order in which they are replaced and when during the year the change takes place is fascinating.

It is interesting to note the changes in the Caister Rose Coloured Starling since it first arrived. It is now moving from a nondescript puce starling towards a pink and black stunner … a feather at a time.

Rose Coloured Starling


A Birders Bird

A couple of Bird Watching Day Tours to Caister recently saw us searching through several hundred Starlings for something a little more special. A juvenile Rose Coloured Starling doesn’t hold a candle to a fully coloured up adult; but they are still quite special, in a sort of subdued way. The last juvenile I saw was here in Northrepps last autumn when one was caught up in a movement of Starlings that stayed in the village for a few days.

One thing that didn’t pass me by as we searched the large Starling flock for the Rosey was how wonderfully diverse the ordinary Starlings were; no two exactly alike. Perhaps that’s why the Rose Coloured Starling felt at home among them.

Rose Coloured Starling


Always check

Some years ago I received a phone call from a local farmer asking me if I wanted to come along and see the colourful parrot he had flying around his farm yard. Having a lot of work on at the time I was not endeared to travelling the five miles to the farm just to see an escaped cage bird but politely said I would call the next time I was in the area. Seven days on I called and was treated to some stunning photos of a Bee eater… which had of course long since departed.

Since that occasion I have always followed up on phone calls reporting something odd. Yesterday I received such a call.

Helen Stibbons, a lady who lives down in the village, had seen an odd looking starling visiting her bird feeders during the past few days. She had the foresight to check the Collins guide concluding her visitor was a young Rose coloured Starling, but wanted the sighting verified as she wasn’t sure.

Rose coloured Starling is a rare visitor to Norfolk so I was more than a little sceptical but went as soon as I got the message. Talking to Helen she volunteered the bird was quite pale and had a yellow bill – in truth it sounded good.

It didn’t take long to track the starling down and sure enough it was a moulting juvenile Rose coloured Starling. A great find for Helen, a very good local patch tick and somewhat of a refreshing change from indecipherable, short staying Philosophus and Sylvia Warblers.

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Jun 2023


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