27 Jun 2018

27 Jun 18 - An Old Friend?

Early evening I had a call from local Birder, Peter Williams. I don't get many calls from Peter, but generally when I do get a call it will be due to something good. So my mind was already whirling around to try & figure out what it might be in late June, with Rose-coloured Starling being the most likely candidate. Peter beat my candidate: a Hooded Crow that was sitting in his garden in Worth Matravers. He was pleased as it was a Garden Tick & he is now only a handful of species left to reach 150 species seen from the garden, with well over 100 species actually in the garden. But his house in Worth Matravers has great views down Winspit valley, which many Birders will remember as the site of the first twitchable mainland Red-flanked Bluetail. I asked if he would mind if I popped up & he said that would be fine. I stopped long enough to grab the camera & bins on the way out of the door. A few minutes later I arrived at Peter's & he opened the door saying it was still there.
Hooded Crow: It looked clean from the front
The Hooded Crow was happily sitting in his pine tree & was visible from Peter & Yvonne's patio. Most of my photos have been taken through the patio glass. When Peter first found it, it was feeding on his lawn.
Hooded Crow: After a while it turned around confirming the upperparts also looked good for a Hooded Crow
Hooded Crow: I'm not aware of any previous records for Winspit or St Aldhelms
Finally, it turned around & dropped onto the lawn to feed for few minutes. Fortunately, the patio door was open & I could carefully pop my head & camera out of the door.
Hooded Crow: A great looking individual
After five minutes on the lawn, it returned to the Pine tree again. Unfortunately, soon after it was spotted by the local Carrion Crow which arrived & chased it off towards the West of the village. The Hooded Crow seemed slightly smaller & less bulky in flight than the Carrion Crow, but I only had a brief comparison in flight. The Carrion Crow didn't take long to return, so perhaps the Hooded Crow didn't go too far to get outside of the Carrion Crow's territory. I had a quick look in the fields immediately to the West of the village, but I couldn't see it. However, I didn't have time for a more extensive search. The big question was this the Hooded Crow that I found back on 27 Aug 17 at Ballard Down on my Studland patch. It remained around Ballard Down up until early Jan 18, but there have been no further sightings to my knowledge. So is it the same individual that had wandered about five miles further West? The Studland individual was only the fifth record for Poole Harbour & the first since 1991, so they are clearly rare in the local area. But I guess we will never know for sure.