Starting to see Red

Record numbers of Common Redstarts have been moving through Northamptonshire over the past few weeks, peaking today with a double-figure count at Stanford Reservoir.

It has been an amazing autumn for Common Redstarts, giving rise to speculation that some may have bred locally. While this may have been true for one or two birds at least, there have been too many to account for the odd, out of range breeding pair and with the picture seemingly mirrored nationally, it appears this species has enjoyed a productive breeding season.

Apart from single males at Moreton Pinkney on 22nd June and at Lamport on 26th June, the first record of the autumn came from Arbury Hill, west of Badby, where an adult and a juvenile were seen as early as 2nd July, perhaps indicating local breeding. Denton Wood similarly provided views of a juvenile on 11th July, again fuelling speculation of local breeding. What was assumed to be the same bird was seen there again on 18th July and from 28th July through to 1st August and again on 10th and 17th August. It was a male and the fact that its post-juvenile moult had steadily progressed each time it was seen would indicate it was the same individual throughout.

Juvenile male Common Redstart, Denton Wood, 11th July 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

.Juvenile male Common Redstart, in moult to first-winter, Denton Wood, 28th July 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

.Juvenile male Common Redstart, in moult to first-winter, Denton Wood, 1st August 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

First-winter male Common Redstart, Denton Wood, 17th August 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

Following the Denton Wood bird, there have been approximately 43 records, accounting for something like 80 individuals. What an autumn! Here are some of those birds.

Adult male Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard). Largely black face with prominent white supercilium, combined with greyish-fringed greater coverts age this as an adult male.

Adult male Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Male Common Redstart, presumed first-winter, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard). Rather dull black facial area with considerable white flecking, along with obscure supercilium point to first-winter.

First-winter male Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard). Same comments apply as above. Also thickly buff-bordered juvenile greater coverts, with adult-like inner one or two grey-edged feathers age this bird.

First-winter female Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard). A tricky one to age. Looks like an adult but the ringers have aged it as a first-winter.

First-winter female Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 27th August 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Male Common Redstart, probably first-winter, Harrington AF, 25th August 2019 (Alan Coles)

 

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1 Response to Starting to see Red

  1. Pingback: Rarity Round-up, 24th to 30th August 2019 | Northantsbirds

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