Sunday, 6 April 2008

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) - Linkey Down, Aston Rowant, Oxon. 2nd April 2008.

I returned home to find that the first Ring Ouzels to arrive at Aston Rowant this year had been seen that morning, with the now lighter evenings I decided to make my way there with the hope of seeing them before it got dark.

Upon arrival I was joined by another birder who had the same intentions and we made our way on foot to Linkey Down, this is a favourite stopping spot for Ring Ouzel on their spring migration as they head to their breeding grounds in Northern England, Wales & Scotland. They are often found at the bottom of Linkey Down feeding around the Juniper bushes and adjacent thickets here SU726964

After searching every bush and thicket I finally spotted a black Thrush sized bird perched in the side of a tree further along the down but before i could clearly identify it it flew off, shortly followed by another bird. I watched them come to rest next to a Juniper thicket and soon identified both birds as male Ring Ouzels. They continued to make their way across the downs towards us and began feeding amongst a row of Juniper bushes that are directly beneath the path towards Hill Farm and probably 150-200 yards from the metal gate. We had great views as both males began feeding often pulling large worms from the ground beneath them, perhaps the recent damp weather aided their success rate as with nearly each attempt they made a huge worm was soon devoured in front of my eyes. I continued to watch them for over an hour as they fed below me until a low flying Red Kite spooked them and they flew off to the far side of the down.

Added To My Year List.

126. Ring Ouzel

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