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Unknown Bird (species ?) (1 Viewer)

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8ub

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This is a remarkable story about a (1) or several birds I have never seen before!

To summarise this:

Location The Netherlands (Holland), North Western Europe, there is a reason for that last extra location indication.
Time of year: Summer 2013, multiple sightings, in year 2014 only one(1) flying bird, could not find it again.

Weatherconditions

Year: 2013, an icy long lasting cold spring, but in late April and May south eastern winds lasting for weeks.
Year 2014 a very balmy winter and high temperatures in March and April but bad rain ridden weather in the first weeks of May 2014
South West winds from the Atlantic and a few days NW-winds from Artic

I am a pretty much experienced birder since age of 7.
Not ment to be as an introduction or to boast or anything, just that you know.
I am mid-aged now, my first years I did birding actually without any binoculars at all (poverty builds character they say, I dunno about that but this handicap actually became a strength which certainly helped( and still helps) me develop a keen eye for a quick determination without constantly grasping for the bino's.

I've been in the Mediterranean a lot ( North Europe's favorite Holyday destination), the Middle East, Africa,North Amerca, North Eastern Europe and Russia.

I cannot compare the bird(s) in question with any of my own experiences nor any Bird Field guide or research on the net.

My first impression was Woodchat Shrike or as we call it in Holland;
Redcrested Shrike :Lanius senator, a former rare breeder, now a regular but still rare migrator/ visitor especially with southtern winds in spring they overshoot their breeding grounds in France and yhe ZSouth of Germany.

It has fairly the same pattern in plumage (at first glance) but his behaviour is totally different, shy, elusive, secretive and having a very social life (I never saw one single bird with exception of 2014),and it sometimes perches always half a mile away , of course and most of the time it and or they move(s) through thickets, bushes and more to ground level in long grass or weeds.
They are very hard to spot and it is even harder to make a photograph.

Size varies from 6 to 8 inches, in metric from 15 to 18 centimeter.

Plumage is basically:
Male (?)
Fire-engine red or brownish red crest depending on light conditions or age of the bird?
black topside or upper parts of wings with white vertical bar on each wing,( shoulderpatch) light or white coloured on chin, breast and belly, some individuals were lichtly barred on the underparts.

The moustache or beard contrasting whith the wite cheek
Tail a bit wedge shapedl just like indeed a Shrike.

Female (?)

Cinnamon brown is a typical Dutch word but reddish brown like a reed warbler will do and in the facial area a dark or blackish stripe or eye mark, blackish masked eye

To make it less complicated I also saw all kinds of colourfull or streaked patterns.
This cvould implicate an escaped exotic birdspecies gone astray or wild and being quite succesfull since I spotted multiple animals on various locations.

Sound: with the exception of alarm calls from the reed wearbler reddish brown females ( again very similar with Shrikes !) I could not hear anything.
My educated guess is that since they are very social in groups and their behaviour, there is no need for territorial disputes and therefore singing.
Any hgigh pitched squeaks and or noises could be done by any other kindf of bird in the area.

Of course I checked every possible bird \or birdfamily well known and widespread in the area with any similarities like for instance spotted woodpecker, but they did not compare or check out.
Any other bird like Woodchat Shrike or Red backed Sjrike* allthough with some striking similarities and resemblance did not check out.
Red backed Shrike is a irregular but not uncommon seasonal passenger/ visitor in Western part of the Netherlands, in eastern parts a locally wide spread breeding species.
Used to breed in the western parst of dfunal and coastal area;s and is coming back slowly after special conservational planning and restoration of certain area's,

Any bird with even a remote chance of similarity or resemblance has been researched by me in a dozen fieldguides spanning three continents, they did not check out.

Internet search on a variety of bird determination sites including this one did not check out.
Checking for exotic birds being held in (il)leghal captivity did not check out.

Breeding and or youngsters, I probally have one photo ( again) with a relativly good picture of a young bird, notice the white cheek -area, the stripe running horizontal through the eye and accros the head, ehile the head/ crest itself is a reddish brown hood/ cap.

Username 8ub is a kind of sarcastic intended pun, because I christened the bird; Bub
Big Unknown Bird and it took me almost 8 weeks after the first sighting end of May till I got the first picture ( basically the one shown)

Year 2013
I have managed after weeks and weeks of stake outs and early rises to make one (1) acceptable photgraph only.
It is part of a serie of multiple shots and one can see like in a storyboard for a cartoon how it quickly goes up out of the bush and down again, 'pop' says the weasel indeed.

Year 2014

Basically nothing, one sighting of a flying bird, flying by the way is also very much like Shrike style, short rushes pretty much close and low to the ground or surface, never seen one flying higher than 20 meters or 70 feet.

Flying is something they tend to avoid or do with reluctance, they are waiting it out till the very end so giving you either a heart attack or makes it quite unpredictable to try to make a photograph
( settings camera & lense)or to persuade it to fly to a certain area or bush/ tree so you have a better chance to make a picture.
They prefer to hide in thick busdhes like f.i blackberry, the bigger the better or any given thicket/ brush in ther surrounding and or make an running escape through the vine so to speak.
Flying is the ultimate escape plan.

Wings pretty much the same as ; Thrushes or again Shrikes with the very in your face black and white pattern

Any help is very much appreciated

My skills according to photoshopping are quite low, but if one would view the crops attached with this appeal should be in for some surprises.

Thank you

[email protected]
 

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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Welcome to Birdforum!

Unfortunately, I can't make anything from the photos, the bird is too well hidden.
 

8ub

Guest
Reply to critics

From 8ub

Remarks and reply and additional photos of same bird in same bush now on the right hand side and two pictures of young bird ( one crop of photograph taken from huge distance and an enhancewd version of the sanme crop) taken in september 2013 in the same area.
Furthermore I would plea the readers to withhold from obvious remarks or comments that are not addinng anything to this matter and or pictures shown,

The hard to see issue or impossible to determinate is the basic/ fundament of mine conundrum

And to stirr it up a little , the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers (as I am being continental) who never have seen a shrike in their own surroundings.
No offence intended but no continental birder would make such a remark.
The point being made if they were easy to spot and photographed they would allready be well known, iI think that's called logic.
Nevertheless my first impressions were like you too, thinking according the guidelines set out in fieldguides and or conclusiveness ( is that the right word ? I mean if it isnt in the'birding field guide does it exist or is it being accepted, if it isn't in the book, it does not exist) and thinking of Shrikes because of the striking similarities in plumage as well as alarm calls but behaviour of the birds completely different.
Very secretive and always well hidden, there fore extra pictures so any interested person has a puzzle for the coming winter.
If pictures downloaded for screening think outside the box the heads are basically the most you wil see, hence the long story and explanations.
In that story it becomes more than obvious that either spotting or making a picture of the birds has shown to be a though assignment.
To judge this turned out to be though for DSutch birders on http://www.waarneming.nl too, also available in English by the way.

With regards

8ub (8 weeks to take a picture of an Unknown Bird)

Ed van Hecke
 

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_pauls

Well-known member
the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers

Perhaps you should have stated in the title of the thread that only continental europeans should contribute.
 

Johann Sebastian Bach

Well-known member
From 8ub


Furthermore I would plea the readers to withhold from obvious remarks or comments that are not addinng anything to this matter and or pictures shown,

The hard to see issue or impossible to determinate is the basic/ fundament of mine conundrum

And to stirr it up a little , the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers (as I am being continental) who never have seen a shrike in their own surroundings.
No offence intended but no continental birder would make such a remark.
The point being made if they were easy to spot and photographed they would allready be well known, iI think that's called logic.

Ed van Hecke

Hi Ed,

I don't think there's any disrespect or sarcasm in the posts following your initial message. Your reply, however, comes over as being rude - especially the "island dwellers" bit (some of us occasionally get into our coracles and cross over the stormy seas). It may be that a language barrier is the issue - but please be assured that BF members are usually very helpful (and often polite) to each other.

Referring to your first set of pictures, I have to agree with Samuel - that Red-backed Shrike is the most likely in terms of colour and size. As you've said though, shrikes don't behave secretly.

I would also propose Red headed bunting as a possibility.

However, if it's an escaped bird from a collection, I doubt very much that you'll get much further with your search for an answer.

Peter
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Agree with Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis for the new photos.

As an aside, this island dweller has seen six species of shrike (and got photos of five of them) on this island ;)
 

AllanM

Well-known member
And to stirr it up a little , the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers (as I am being continental) who never have seen a shrike in their own surroundings.
No offence intended but no continental birder would make such a remark.


Maybe no offence intended but offence taken.
 

KenM

Well-known member
I've just viewed images 1,4 and 5 and believe I can see a probable RBShrike, (towards right of images), clearly a warm brown head, pale throat and a ''distinctly'' down curved end of dark bill, which is high-lighted showing too much curvature for a warbler species, regarding Shrikes being furtive, I've also experienced this, especially when being approached too close.

Cheers
 
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jnobel

Well-known member
Hi Ed,

As a Dutch national dwelling on the British Isles I don't know if I am allowed to respond... your anti-island attitude puzzles me just as much as your description of the bird. However, your last photograph definitely shows a Common Whitetroat (or 'Grass Sparrow' as you call them!).

Hartelijke groeten,

Jan
 

stonechat1

New member
[...] the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers (as I am being continental) who never have seen a shrike in their own surroundings.[...] Ed van Hecke
From your first post in this thread:
[...]Any help is very much appreciated[...]
You´re aware that birders are traveling a lot? Do NOT underestimate their knowledge or their will to help, that´s very wrong! And sadly I must admit that even for someone from the continent your claim "the last thing I need is advice from island dwellers" sounds very rude.
BTW your PS results are helping not a bit to ID the bird.
Based on the last photos I also agree with Common Whitetroat.
 

chris butterworth

aka The Person Named Above
The photos in post #4 don't match any of the 25 species of Shrike I've seen and, in my humble, albeit insular, opinion are of Common Whitethroat. ;)
 

Rotherbirder

Well-known member
I sometimes find it hard to believe the utter tosh that is bandied about on this forum! There is no way on god's earth that the bird - if indeed that is what it is - can be identified from the initial 5 shots! Assertions that it is definitely a shrike of some kind are utterly fanciful and without any credence whatsoever. By the time the second batch of pics arrived I had lost the will to live, sorry! I am now beating myself soundly in penance for wasting several minutes of my life following this farcical thread - no offence intended!
 

KenM

Well-known member
I sometimes find it hard to believe the utter tosh that is bandied about on this forum! There is no way on god's earth that the bird - if indeed that is what it is - can be identified from the initial 5

By the time the second batch of pics arrived I had lost the will to live, sorry! I am now beating myself soundly in penance for wasting several minutes of my life following this farcical thread - no offence intended!

Sounds like you need medication? Hopefully your demise won't be to premature, as your outstanding ''contributions'' to this forum would be sorely missed. ;)
 

Rotherbirder

Well-known member
Well what a surprise! Bang on cue the self-professed expert and renowned rarity fabricator pops his head above the parapet; I wondered how long it would be! My 'contributions' do tend to be rational and based on experience, whereas ...
 
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