Pulborough

 Northern Mockingbird

An incredible turn of events this morning had me heading to Pulborough after work to twitch a Northen Mockingbird. News came through from Matt that his neighbour had found the bird in her garden this morning, but it had since moved off. A photo of the bird circulating and news that the Exmouth bird hadn't been seen this morning confirmed the sighting. The whole of the twitching and sussex birder communities then headed out to look for the bird. It was located along the river near the village hall car park (very handy). I headed down after work and arrived around 5.15 and strolled down Barn House Lane onto the brooks, a walk I haven't done for many years. The river bank was lined with birders all looking at the bird and so I very soon picked it up. A constant presence of around 30 birders were on site most of the day, and in the short time I was there I found myself more fascinated with the characters coming and going, some rushing with such serious and worrisome looks on their faces one wonders if they are actually getting any joy out of it. I glanced behind me and noticed I was at the back of Matt's garden, and there was Matt waving across. After 20 minutes the bird then flew over our heads across to a bramble bush at the end of Matt's garden. The chances of a mega rarity turning up in the garden of committed Pulborough patch birder, Matt, must be incredibly slim, but the fact he was off work as it was his birthday just gives the whole event a sense of divine providence. 

Let's hope some of this providence is given to the poor Northern Mockingbird. These birds are resident in North America, and there is evidence some do migrate so it could be a genuine vagrant from across the pond or, as has been suggested, it managed to get itself stowed away on a boat somehow. I wonder if on balance of probabilities it's more likely to be someone's escaped pet, but this explanation appears to have been dismissed. Either way, it is a long way from home with no conceivable way of getting back across the pacific, so it's chances of survival appear to be very slim. 

Northern Mockingbird


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