Sunday, 13 June 2010

Deptford birds: Black Redstart

Regular readers will know I am a bit of a twitcher, although not enough to go romping round the country in pursuit of rare birds. But I do enjoy spotting and identifying birds as I go about my daily business.

So I was particularly thrilled to get the opportunity to watch a Black Redstart singing its delightful song, perched on top of an aerial above Tomi's Kitchen as I waited for the London Bridge-bound train last night.

According to the RSPB site:
The black redstart is a small robin-sized bird that has adapted to live at the heart of industrial and urban centres. Its name comes from the plumage of the male, which is grey-black in colour with a red tail. With fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the UK, the black redstart is on the amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern.

If you go to the website you can listen to a recording of its song if you need help identifying it from a distance, as I did. I didn't have a good enough camera to photograph it, but managed to take a short video of it singing, which helped me to confirm its identity. I won't inflict the video on you, it's really not worth it!

My ID process was as follows: dark brown/black head, pale pinky/tan chest, longish tail, slightly bigger than a robin, small sharp beak. The song was the final giveaway, and apparently it is most often spotted when it is perched and singing. Deptford Creek has been known to be home to two or three breeding pairs since 1998, and I'm chuffed to have finally seen one!

For more information, you can see the Creekside Centre page or find out more info about its habitats and distribution at this page.


Marmoset said...

Lucky you! I've yet to see one in England.

shipwrights palace said...

fantastic. So pleased to hear this as i have not seen or heard one this year. yes, a real treat as they are so full of character. I will try to post some photos I took last year of Deptford's Black Redstarts.