10 May 2019

10 May 19 - Golden Brown

It's that time of year when there are a number of youngsters from the early local breeders appearing in my garden. Normally, I expect to see two or three young Dunnocks appearing over the course of the breeding season. It not always easy to be sure how many youngsters are around, unless I see them together or can learn the subtle differences in plumage to separate them. Hopefully, I continue to see the same individuals over the following few months, until they become a lot harder to pick out from the two pairs of resident Dunnocks that have territories that include my garden.
Dunnock: Juvenile. Typically my Dunnocks look like this individual photographed at Studland (14 May 14)
However, this year is going to be a lot easier to keep tabs on one of the individuals as it is very distinctive. It's been around for a few weeks now, so clearly has worked out how to survive so far. They get a bit of support from the parents in their first few days of fledgling, but like a number of my other garden Birds, are far too quickly left to sort themselves out.
Dunnock: Juvenile. This cracking golden-brown individual has been around for a few weeks now
These photos were taken through the kitchen window & hence, they aren't as sharp as they would otherwise be.
Dunnock: Juvenile
The pale plumage is going to be a result of some leucistic genes, but I've never seen any of my local Dunnocks look pale before. So, it's possible that a wandering Dunnock has briefly entered the area or perhaps it's just some genes that haven't popped up in the twenty plus years I've lived here. David Attenborough highlighted that the often overlooked Dunnocks have a lot more spicy sex lives than people had assumed. So, it would be nice to think that there is another explanation, that my garden played host to the UK's first African Desert Warbler.
African Desert Warbler: It's unlikely this was a parent, but it looks like it might just have been. Western Sahara (8 Feb 14)