Mystery birds. Post your pics here and we'll try to ID them for you.

Hi everyone, this is my first post and I am looking for some information about this bird, there are 4 of them feeding at my bird table over the last few days, I cannot find them in my books, at first I thought someone had lost their aviary birds. Any information please.

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  • Hi CharliesGirl - welcome to the Loch of Strathbeg group.

    This charming little bird is a Goldfinch, you can find out all about them here:

    http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/g/goldfinch/index.aspx

    We sometimes get them on the feeders here at the reserve, but they prefer our fields, especially when we've planted the wild bird cover so there are plenty of weed seeds for them. You can attract them to the garden with peanuts, sunflower hearts and, particularly, nyjer seeds.

    Best wishes and see you at the reserve soon,

    David

  • In reply to David Parnaby:

    Thank you David, the birds are a joy to watch feeding, my neighbour moved out and took her cat with her so the birds have come back to the garden, funny how they knew when the cat was about.

    Recycler - Freecycler and Fairtrade supporter

  • In reply to scotview:

    This lovely little bird is a Stonechat - one of my favourites! It gets its name from the call, which sounds like two pebbles being knocked together. It regularly perches on plant stems, fences etc (as it is in these photos) where it watches for insects that it can drop down onto and it is quite often seen in family parties. Unlike its relatives, the Whinchat and Wheatear, the Stonechat spends the winter in the UK, which can make survival very difficult if the weather is as hard as it was last year. We seemed to lose all of our Stonechats from the reserve during the winter, but thankfully they had survived further along the coast and they recolonised during the summer and we will hopefully now be back up to our usual three or four breeding pairs along the coastal strip.

    Thanks for the posting and do let us know what you see when you're on the reserve in the future.

    David

  • In reply to David Parnaby:

    I

    Could you please identify this one, spotted today in stubble field beside Fraserburgh.

    It is smaller than a thrush, bigger than a skylark . There were many of these flocking in several stubble fields.

    Thanks

    JW

  • In reply to scotview:

    Great pic. The combination of streaky brown plumage, stubby but pointed bill and the small crest all point to this being a skylark. The image is even good enough to see the long flat hindclaw of this species. If this bird flew, you would see the white outer tail and trailing edge to the wing which are also distinctive. The flocking in stubble fields is very typical behaviour for this time of year, with the weeds and seeds providing vital food. Here at the reserve we have wild bird cover areas that are a lifeline for various species in the sort of weather we're currently experiencing. Quite often there will be other species mixed in with Skylark flocks, I'd expect Meadow Pipits and Linnets in stubble fields around here at this time of year and a range of other finches and buntings are also possible.

    Skylarks are actually quite large birds and the reason you thought this bird looked larger than one may be because you were comparing it to smaller birds nearby, or perhaps the fluffed up plumage that birds employ to try to keep warm is maker it look larger than normal (this one certainly seems fluffed up giving it a rather rotund appearance).

    Thanks for posting and keep the questions coming!

     

  • In reply to David Parnaby:

    Spotted this one today at the bird feeders.

    I think it's a reed bunting. Sorry about the quality of the photo, typical to be messing about when something unusual comes along !

    Could you confirm ID please ?

  • In reply to scotview:

    It certainly is a Reed Bunting. Although a common species on the reserve, we rarely see them by the feeders, although this one has become a bit of a regular. As with a lot of birds that normally use the farmland areas of the reserve, most of our reed buntings seem to have moved off when their feeding areas became covered by snow (this is the only one I've seen on the reserve so far this year!).

  • In reply to David Parnaby:

    Spotted today from Fen Hide, I think it is a Barnacle Goose by the head colouring.

    The bird is shown about quarter in from the left,  just about halfway down the picture. Image was grabbed from a video which shows it a bit clearer.

  • In reply to scotview:

    Hi

    It is indeed a Barnacle Goose. The black neck and white face are distinctive and it would also show a grey body of it swam out from behind the other geese! A good way of separating Barnacles from Canada Geese is the shape of the white on the face - in Barnacle it is the whole face (so it looks like it's wearing a balaclava) in Canada it is just a white chinstrap, so balaclava=b=barnacle, chinstrap=c=canada!

    With a bean goose also around the reserve at the moment, it is certainly worth scanning the flocks, with Fen hide  agood place to do it from.