Birders flock to B.C. Inside for probability to identify uncommon avian customer that has flown far astray

Birders flock to B.C. Inside for probability to identify uncommon avian customer that has flown far astray

Avid birder Chris Charlesworth estimates it took him 60 seconds to vacate his home after he obtained the telephone name final Tuesday.

The voice on the opposite finish of the road was his good friend and fellow birdwatcher, Jasmine Korcok, who was excitedly calling him from Munson Pond in Kelowna, British Columbia, the place she might hardly consider what she had noticed — a uncommon fieldfare.

A member of the thrush household, the fieldfare is native to Northern Europe and western Asia and historically migrates south to Africa and the Center East within the winter.

Charlesworth, who raced to Munson Pond instantly after Korcok known as him round 3 p.m. on Jan. 10, stated that is solely the third recorded sighting of a fieldfare within the province.

“It is in all probability the rarest chook we have now ever had within the Okanagan Valley,” stated Charlesworth.

A small speckled bird perches on a branch against a white background.
This fieldfare was first noticed in Kelowna, B.C., at round 3 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023, and has been noticed a couple of instances since by fortunate birders desirous to catch a glimpse of the international flyer. (Chris Charlesworth)

In response to eBird, an internet useful resource that lets customers file chook sightings worldwide, the final recorded sighting was in Salmon Arm in January 2019. 

Charlesworth, who served on the British Columbia Uncommon Birds Committee and runs his personal bird-watching tour firm, stated the one different recorded sighting was in Port Coquitlam “fairly a couple of years in the past.”

That is why Korcok needed to do a double take when she first noticed it sitting in a willow tree by the pond whereas she was out birding together with her binoculars.

A small speckled bird perches on a branch full of red berries.
This fieldfare was photographed close to Salmon Arm, B.C., in January 2019. It, too, was travelling and feeding with a flock of robins and attracted the eye of birders close to and much. (Claude Rioux)

At first, she thought the robin-sized chook is likely to be simply that, however the speckled browns of its feathers and absence of pink markings meant it wasn’t. After learning the chook’s markings and cross-referencing on-line, Korcok positioned the decision that rocketed Charlesworth out of his home Tuesday.

“I simply knew that I might discovered one thing very uncommon, and it was going to be an enormous deal to native birders,” stated Korcok.

Seems, it is extra than simply native birders aflutter over the information.

Birders from Alberta, Washington state and throughout B.C. have been en path to the Okanagan since information obtained out {that a} fieldfare is within the area. And Charlesworth says whereas the chook is elusive, it’s probably nonetheless round.

He was capable of finding it the day after it was first noticed, a few kilometre south of its first location, hanging out with a flock of robins. Each sightings have been recorded on the British Columbia Uncommon Fowl Alert web site.

How the chook obtained right here is anybody’s guess. Charlesworth and Korcok say it might have been blown astray throughout migration by a storm or caught a journey on a ship crossing worldwide waters.

There may be additionally a uncommon phenomenon often called mirror migration, the place birds generally journey in the wrong way they’re purported to.

Charlesworth figures this rogue fieldfare will hand around in the area for some time as a result of it has discovered meals right here (they like berries, bugs and seeds) and since wherever it’s purported to be is nowhere close to B.C.

“Nearly actually, it’s not going to seek out its means again to its correct house,” he stated.

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