Let’s be honest. I don’t work much these days. When I do I should give it my undivided attention. Today I tried and failed. I was having a perfectly good and helpful call with someone several thousand miles away when I was distracted by a small bird perched in the garden opposite the house. Desperate that it should not fly without me having established its credentials I grabbed a pair of binoculars. Aha! I exclaimed (silently…….. ) whilst continuing to talk into the squawk box. I quickly grabbed my trusty SX50 HS. I managed 4 shots through the closed window before the bird flew and I had to recommit myself 100% to the call. Multi-tasking par excellence.
I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a thrush, an Eyebrowed thrush, Turdus obscurus. This is a garden tick, which, to the uninitiated, is a bird I have not recorded in the garden before. I always feel rather sad that a bird as beautiful as a thrush should be in the genus turdus. It really is a sh*t name. Gratifyingly, if you put turdus into Google Translate it does actually offer thrush as the translation and nothing remotely “poo” related. Try it and see. Go on, its fun. I kid you not. The most mellifluous of birds, the Common blackbird, is Turdus merula. Hardly a fair name for a bird that can be mistaken for a Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) in song. Not all thrushes are turdi though. Some for example are Zoothera. Bit this isn’t a taxonomy lesson. If you really want to know about thrushes I recommend “Thrushes” by Clement & Hathway. Its not a snappy title, I know – but it is accurate. I eagerly await the next Thrush Wars film, Return of the Turdi”.
The said TU is a scarce migrant and winter visitor to HK so it was jolly decent of it to turn up on our little patch. Is it worth ticking? Well, here it is.
Not too flash, not to gaudy, just a rather smart bird with no problem under the sale of goods act – it actually does have an eyebrow.
I also spotted another small brown bird in the garden after the call had finished. A female Daurian redstart. I didn’t photograph it as it is sadly rather drab compared to the male. But a nice garden bird after all. I don’t think it is a tick but it may be. The White-breasted waterhen is still hanging around, sans water. It just walks up and down the path each afternoon with an occasional foray onto the grass and then disappears until the next day.
And that is it for my day. Our friends in America celebrated with turkey yesterday. I celebrated with an Eyebrowed thrush today. And I didn’t eat a single slice for which the TU gives thanks.