Ring Ouzel, Portbury Wharf

Ring Ouzel

Or is it ousel for the mountain blackbird? My spell-checker prefers ouzel, as do the IOC and Wildlife Recorder, so I don’t know why I have the s-version stuck in my head.

Anyway, today’s male wasn’t anywhere near a mountain, being very much at sea level on the Wharf. He’s been here a couple of days and I’ve not connected with him but that changed, thanks to Steve Hale leading a Bristol Ornithological Club walk. Twenty or so pairs of eyes helped to locate the bird, keeping company with a few late redwings. I bet the two thrushes don’t meet that often.

For thrushes they are. And remain so, unlike our robin and allies, which find themselves acquainted with Old World flycatchers. The two families do now neighbour each other – no longer split by the warblers. Our robin also heads up the European cohort of the Muscicapidae so that a line to it runs from mistle thrush, through American robin as it happens. A-ha! A closer relationship between the two robins than we thought.

I digress. The walk also produced singing chiffchaffs, bees, brimstones and other butterflies in warm sunshine. Spring’s three inches per second, or whatever it was, must be creeping past Portishead. Actually, does anyone remember what that figure was? Tuesday’s QI quoted it.

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