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Unknown ID, large white bird with red patch in head (1 Viewer)

curlewsandpiper1980

Active member
Northeast Scotland, 10 July, Coastal pine woodlands

Today I saw a beautiful bird, which is definitively uncommon where I live. I was walking on the woods behind my house, so I know most of its birds there pretty well (on the trees: tits, chaffinches, bullfinch, goldfinch, chiffchaff, crows, magpie, pigeons, and as the forests ends and the dunes begin, it's the territory of the yellowhammer, skylarks, song thrush and a few other birds)

What attracted me first to this bird, was its short song, a bit of a loud thrill, so I immediately suspected a finch. But with some warbling and complexity I suspected something else. It was as loud as a thrush. So I said to myself "this is a very unusual bird" as this is the forest in my backyard which I have been following for birdlife since April.

When I pointed my binoculars I saw a largeish white bird (halfway between a sparrow and a pigeon), mostly bright white belly, and some small patch of bright red on its face (almost like when you spot a goldfinch but this bird was bigger than it and with much more white color), and it seems there was also some bit of black near its head or back. But I saw it mostly from its belly (so I cannot say how the back and tail was), as it was near the top of a lonely spruce in a forest of Scot pines, only saw it for 20 seconds before it flew away and then I could not find it again.

After browsing my guidebooks, I could not match its ID to any bird. Initially I suspected a great spotted woodpecker because of white belly and red crown, but the song/call does not match it and as far as I remember the bill was relatively unremarkable. The bird seemed large for being a linnet, redpoll or whitethroat. The more I search, the more I realise that my sight does not match any of the common birds in my guidebooks.

Any ideas?

Below is the list of birds which I am familiar with, and not familiar with:
Familiar with: sparrow, robin, chaffinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, yellowhammer, swift, sand martin, starling, blackbird, magpie, crows, jackdaw, pied wagtail, oystercatcher, most gull species, meadow pipit, wood pigeon, dove.
More or less familiar with: wren and dunnoch, siskin and greenfinch, all tits, song and mistle thrush, skylark (only if singing), jay (only if singing), buzzard, osprey and eagles (only if flying near).
Not familiar with: all buntings, all flycatchers, all woodpeckers, all warblers, whinchat and stonechat, blackcap, chiffchaff (except if singing), treecreeper, linnet and twite, tree sparrow, other larks, wheatwear, redpoll, redwing, restart, fieldfare, other wagtails, hawfinch, brambling, crossbill, whitethroat, bluethroat, all crests, long tail tit, merlin, kestrel, harrier, hawks, nuthatch, shrikes, chough, nightingale, dipper, waxwing, wryneck
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Northeast Scotland, 10 July, Coastal pine woodlands ...
What attracted me first to this bird, was its short song, a bit of a loud thrill, so I immediately suspected a finch. But with some warbling and complexity I suspected something else. It was as loud as a thrush...

When I pointed my binoculars I saw a largeish white bird (halfway between a sparrow and a pigeon), mostly bright white belly, and some small patch of bright red on its face ... and it seems there was also some bit of black near its head or back...it was near the top of a lonely spruce in a forest of Scot pines ...Initially I suspected a great spotted woodpecker because of white belly and red crown, but the song/call does not match it and as far as I remember the bill was relatively unremarkable.

Any ideas?

Can I suggest that your original assessment was correct and that you were initially attracted to a Song Thrush singing from the top of the Spruce and when you scanned the tree from the direction of the singing that you coincidentally also spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the top of the same tree? (Invariably it’s hard to see Song Thrush when they are singing at the tops of tall trees!)
 

curlewsandpiper1980

Active member
Can I suggest that your original assessment was correct and that you were initially attracted to a Song Thrush singing from the top of the Spruce and when you scanned the tree from the direction of the singing that you coincidentally also spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the top of the same tree? (Invariably it’s hard to see Song Thrush when they are singing at the tops of tall trees!)

Well, it actually makes a lot of logic.
I had this happening to me before. Spotting a bird which was not the one I initially heard.

There is a song thrush that lives only 2min walk from the spruce tree (and I usually hear it, if I walk past the area around 6pm), if it was singing that creatively, then it was it. And then yes, I might have just spotted a woodpecker. Must investigate the area again. Which is just a 5min walk from my house.

Thanks for your suggestion.
 

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