Grey-cheeked Thrush

Uncovering a routine

Spent most of day 2 (Sat 24th Sept)  with the group on Fetlar. I knew 2 days earlier, that resident warden Malcie Smith has seen a catharus Thrush in the famed Tresta Manse garden, but he wasn’t sure which species, initially suggesting Hermit. Then y’day evening after almost no views all day this London based team managed an out-on-the-wall perched view, enabling a firm identification as Grey-cheeked Thrush. The bird was most frustrating, and the appearance of a Song Thrush, virtually unseen so far this autumn in Shetland scuppered some claims! After several hours and lovely sound of Yellow-browed Warbler calling in the background, and occasional appearance of a bright Redstart, we finally figured out which 2 leafy things it was zooming between and managed several views perched out in the open. Tiny, very grey and nothing bicknelli about it. Like the Swainson’s Thrush of the previous day we even managed good looks at the striking ‘zoothera-like’ underwing pattern. 

Grey-cheeked Thrush, Tresta, Fetlar, 24 Sept 2011. Dougie Preston got this shot next to me as it sat at the bottom of the Taiga Flycatcher sycamore ; )

and it perched briefly on the manse garden wall where I grabbed this photo.

<HERE> is the calling Yellow-browed Warbler from the same garden. Have a listen to one of the best sounds of Shetland!

Later on we had nice views a couple of (non-scarlet) ‘Scarlet Rosefinches’ at Houbie beach, with the House Sparrows, a Fieldfare and Lesser Whitethroat nearby. Again very fortunate as the Grey-cheeked Thrush wasn’t seen again. What great first couple of days for our group though!

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