Wednesday afternoon, I’m home after a day at the university. I turn on the computer, sat comfortably and open Facebook. First post: Black-throated thrush, 13th record in Denmark. Wait, what? Where???
After this moment of panick, I went to DOFbasen, the Danish bird sighting database, to see whether the bird had already been reported. It had, and it was near my place, some 15 minutes by bike! Alas, it was already dark, and I was forced to go to the university the day after, as we needed to finish a report.
This Thursday was a beautiful day, sunny and crisp. All day long, while working on the report, I saw the number of observations on DOFbasen grow: the bird was still there, and very easy to see. Imagine the frustration. I would have time to get there on Friday morning, but I was convinced it would be cloudy and depressing, and I was worried to see the thrush leave.
Friday morning. Sun! The report was finished, so I was supposed to sleep this morning. Meh, we’ll sleep when we are dead.
So I took my bike and rode. The sunrise over Utterslev Mose was delightful, the trees covered in frost. I got lost on the way, but managed to reach Tingskrivervej at 9.30. The first birder I met told me that the thrush had been seen 2 minutes ago, but had since then dropped to the ground, behind a wall. We waited.
The Dark-throated thrush (Turdus atrogularis) is a Siberian species: it nests behind the Ural mountains, and winters in the south of Asia, from Iran to Burma. It’s seen regularly in Western Europe, and the last Danish mention occurred one year ago. I missed the Hume’s leaf warbler and the Dusky warbler in the autumn, I didn’t want to miss this one.
I noticed a thrush drinking from the raingutter, high up. I saw it from behind, so I wasn’t sure it was the one we were looking for, but when it turned, no doubt was possible: a dark throat and a white belly, that was our visitor! As I tried to show it to the others, it flew down and landed in a tree nearby, where it started to clean its plumage for a few minutes.
It then decided to fly away and roam around the snow-covered football field, eating berries and messing with the few Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) and Blackbirds (Turdus merula) of the area. More birders arrived, and we followed the thrush from a distance. Two Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) were taking possession of a red nesting box nearby.
We lost sight of the thrush, but minutes later it miraculously reappeared in the same first tree and struck the pose there.
It was hard to have a clear sight, but I somehow managed to avoid the branches.
It went down to the berry tree for a few minutes, and then up again it lifted. It was time for me to go to the university, but I knew that, whatever happened, it would still be a good day.