I have just got around to reading Tristan's blog entry Red Sparrows and it got me thinking
(a mysterious event in its own right) about an unusual bird that I saw in about 1962 or '63. I have been unable to identify the creature despite describing it to many ornithologists over the years and working my way through vast numbers of bird identification books.
I now wonder if any of the knowledgeable CFZ readers may be able to identify it, even though the description is perhaps now a wee bit fuzzy with age.
My sighting of this bird took place early (around 6.30 am) one summer morning on a farm near the village of Stanley in Derbyshire. While I was making breakfast over an open fire, the bird perched on a fence post, no more than 12 to 15 feet away and seemed to have no concern about me or the other lad moving around and certainly was not frightened, even if we went closer to it. It stayed in the same place, as though interested in what we were doing, for about 10 minutes then flew off and we never saw it again during our stay.
This bird was slightly larger than an adult male blackbird (perhaps the size of a collared Dove) but had the body-shape and posture of a blackbird. The beak was the same shape as a blackbird but black in colour. Its plumage was jet black and very glossy (almost like wet paint), except on the breast where it had a very glossy, vivid scarlet bib from the throat to just in front of the legs.
There was no ring on its legs so it was presumably wild rather than a captive-bred escapee.