Golden Oriole along the Thames?

I was on a very early morning bikeride along the Thames yesterday morning very close to Kew Gardens, thick with wood,and and a bird slightly bigger than a blackbird flew out from the bank of the river. What caught my eye was a very definite yellow between its wings as it flew. The rest of the body was blackbird coloured and it wasn't a small bird. It really struck me as something unusual and I have spent ages trying to understand what it could be! I considered a yellowhammer but they are too small and trying to follow the rspb test led to either to water birds or finches. That flash of yellow was so strong. It wasn't close to resembling a woodpecker in shape or indeed a kingfisher with its yellow. It seems that I may have been lucky enough to have spotted a Golden Oriole!! Have any other sightings been made in that area?

  • There was a report on Birdguides HERE of a sighting today (26th) of a Golden Oriole in Buckinghamshire . I'm not a subscriber so can't access any further details



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  • thankyou, that's wonderful and encouraging news!
  • Not withstanding an occasional oriole sighting (some of which turn out to be wrong), most oriole sightings are green woodpeckers. Sounds like you disturbed it on the ground doing what green woodpeckers do, feeding wise. Orioles are usually hard to see (not just because they are very rare) up in the trees.

  • Just looking at photos of a green woodpecker, it seems the yellow is limited to the tail area, am i right? the yellow i saw, from above, was almost like a bright stripe all the way along its back between the wings. The only other colouring i noticed on the rest of the bird was brownish like a blackbird. Isn't the green quite obvious on the wings of a green woodpecker?
  • Green woodpeckers are similar to female Orioles. Males are very distinctive. Obviously, I am heavily influenced by the history of seeing misidentifications. E.g. Wrong time of year, wrong habitat where green woodpeckers are numerous etc. You mentioned about yellow between the wings in the original post. However, you went on to say about the rest of the bird, which to me, conclusively rules out a male golden oriole. The behaviour, flying up from the ground when disturbed......presumably a grassy area? typical green woodpecker behaviour and how people often see them. I would suggest that situation, even if an oriole was in the county, is highly unusual. Just my opinion.