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A lesser whitethroat? (1 Viewer)

curlewsandpiper1980

Well-known member
Location: NE Scotland, upland valley
Date: 9 Aug 2020

Bird 1 and 2
Habitat: birds sitting in the branches of tall spruce trees right at the edge of a thick spruce forest and farmland, in a valley surrounded by moors/ hills

Bird 3
Same location nearby, gliding over farmland, and into a nearby forest edge

BIRD 1
Size: quite small birds, size of a tit or slightly smaller than a robin
Aspect: belly was white, plumage looked quite fluffy white indeed, and the rest of the body was a pale grey, and tail was with both black, white and grey.The bill looked a bit like a finch, short, thick and pointy.
Behaviour: birds flying from branch to branch quickly. I saw a few of them
Call: I wasn't sure, Bird was quite quiet. There were some shy, low, thin tseeeps which I think came from them.

Initially I thought these were long tail tits, because of being a few birds moving quickly from spruce tree to spruce tree, and the all bird looked pale whitish colored, but the tail was shorter, and it lacked the salmon hue of long tail tits too, the bill different, and after a few seconds I realise that these light colored/whitish birds were some species which I haven't seen before.

My ID possibilities were as different as linnet, twite, lesser whitethroat, garden warbler, and goldcrest. I never saw any of the 5 species before.

It might also have been juveniles, and thus the confusion.

BIRD 2
Size: a larger passerine, a bit smaller than a blackbird or a thrush. And again sitting in a neighbouring tree from the ones where bird 1 were.
Aspect: belly was pale salmon like, a white throat and the back was not seen well, as the bird flew quickly. It had a longer tail of black and white colors.
Behaviour: Bird was perched in one lower branch right at the corner of the forest, where farmland begins, then flew further in as it saw me.

I am not sure of the ID. I looked in the internet and so far my nearest match was red backed shrike, but this is a rare species up in Scotland

BIRD 3
Size: Crow or seagull size. Probably a raptor.
Aspect: A pair of birds that glide fast, they looked like birds of prey, as they had pointy wings, a bit kinked or lifted like a V, in flight they showed themselves as grey and light coloured wings with black tips.
Behaviour: The flew/ glide over the farmland, low and fast, and then moved into an edge of trees and I lost them. A few minutes later I saw them again (again a pair) but now gliding down and low in another cultivated field and then above some trees lining a small stream.
Habitat: same as bird 1 and bird 2, but this location was a few hundred meters away. A patchy valley landscape of spruce forest and farmland, and a small river nearby.

My guess is for a pair of hen harrier. In fact this is the second time I see this bird in recent days. I saw what looked like a hen harrier (and matching the above description) a few days ago, in a location 1 hour drive away. Importantly, it was a location where hen harriers are known to occur and where I saw one suspected similar bird gliding in a shallow flight, after it was perched in an electricity post and glided low over farmland and into the tree (exactly same behaviour as bird 3). All these sightings were quick so I hadn't had the change for photos or videos.
 
Last edited:

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Location: NE Scotland, upland valley
Date: 9 Aug 2020



BIRD 1
Size: quite small birds, size of a tit or slightly smaller than a robin
Aspect: belly was white, plumage looked quite fluffy white indeed, and the rest of the body was a pale grey, and tail was with both black, white and grey.The bill looked a bit like a finch, short, thick and pointy.
Behaviour: birds flying from branch to branch quickly. I saw a few of them
Call: I wasn't sure, Bird was quite quiet. There were some shy, low, thin tseeeps which I think came from them.

Initially I thought these were long tail tits, because of being a few birds moving quickly from spruce tree to spruce tree ...

It might also have been juveniles, and thus the confusion.

Your description does match a party of Long-tail tits - the tails are not always readily noticeable when moving through foliage - the stand out is the white ‘fuffy’ bellies http://www.tarsiger.com/picture.php


BIRD 2
Size: a larger passerine, a bit smaller than a blackbird or a thrush. And again sitting in a neighbouring tree from the ones where bird 1 were.
Aspect: belly was pale salmon like, a white throat and the back was not seen well, as the bird flew quickly. It had a longer tail of black and white colors.
Behaviour: Bird was perched in one lower branch right at the corner of the forest, where farmland begins, then flew further in as it saw me.

I am not sure of the ID. I looked in the internet and so far my nearest match was red backed shrike, but this is a rare species up in Scotland

A pretty good description of a Bullfinch


Its hard to say what the third birds were. They could have been two adult male Hen Harriers.
 

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