Rarity finders Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire


This page contains 5 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Wed 14/12/16 21:49).

In the early afternoon of Sunday 4 December, I was taking photos out of my bedroom window which overlooks the grounds of the Dukes Barn Activity Centre in Beeley, in Derbyshire's beautiful Peak District. Having been laid up and under the weather over the weekend, I was keen to get some shots of the Waxwings that had been reported in the area on the fruit and berry trees, but had to make do with Goldcrest, Blackbird and Starling taken from my bedroom window.

There was also a bird present which I thought might be a Mistle Thrush, knowing it was different to Song Thrush which I had seen the previous day. I took three shots I needed identifying — Starlings in flight, the thrush and a Blackbird — and posted them on the UK Bird Identification forum on Facebook, knowing there were lots of helpful birders willing to give advice there.

The first comment was from Dan Brown: "Er, this is a Dusky Thrush! Where and when was it taken?" "Just this afternoon in Derbyshire," I replied. "Is it in an accessible site? And would it cope with a lot of people?" he shot back. Other comments followed: "Wow!" "OMG" ...

Reaction to Rachel's initial post on the UK Bird Identification group on Facebook.

To be honest, I thought that they were winding me up. It's not unknown on the internet, but it began to dawn on me what I had found. The 'admin' of the Facebook page, Michael Murphy, soon closed down the comments thread and gave me some advice on how to arrange access to the site for the hordes of birders which it became apparent would visit.

I tried to get through to the Chatsworth Estate who are the trustees of the charitable activity centre to make arrangements, but understandably no one was there on a Sunday night. I also contacted the RSPB to help, while Sam Viles from BirdGuides offered advice, but I had to wait until 9 am on the Monday morning to get through to the landowners. By 10 am or so, permission had been granted and staff were available on site, signs had been put up in the village directing birders to the orchard, tea, coffee, mince pies and bacon butties were provided, and a charity collection bucket brought out, which at the time of writing had received about £1,000 for Dukes Barn.

Crowds have been very well behaved, and I begged my boss to take the day off work on Wednesday 7th to get a good look at the bird for myself. The response has been absolutely incredible, and I've been on local radio, in the daily papers and even nationwide on BBC TV.

The best thing, however, has been meeting so many brilliant people, all excited and sharing a common interest in birds. It's been fantastic to see people buzzing and they all seem far removed from the outsider stereotype that birders have.

Dusky Thrush
(Photo: Steve Young)

Dusky Thrush
(Photo: Ron Marshall)

Dusky Thrush
(Photo: Alan Shaw)

Dusky Thrush
(Photo: Tom Tams)

Dusky Thrush
(Photo: Andy Butler)

Dusky Thrush

(Video: Alan Shaw)

(Video: Jason Coppock)

Related pages

Dusky Thrush Dusky Thrush
Derbyshire Derbyshire

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The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (5)

Many, many thanks to Rachel, and to all who have been involved with arranging this twitch.
   Phil, 14/12/16 12:34Report inappropriate post Report 
Heartily seconded; lots of thanks to Dukes Barn, the residents of Beeley, Chatsworth Estate, and especially Rachel. I'm sure many who went will agree; best twitch ever! The combination of watching a Dusky Thrush in a Peak District village, while being served tea, chips, and mushy peas by a very noble charity, wasn't one of the most predictable activities for this December, and by my second visit the car-thrush shuttle bus had been laid on! As many birders already have, including a number who...more more
   Jim Clarke, 14/12/16 12:37Report inappropriate post Report 
Thank you both! Jim really looking forward to our wildlife tour!! Sounds amazing. Lovely to meet you both :)
   Rachel Jones, 14/12/16 16:59Report inappropriate post Report 
As far I know there have only been four records of Dusky Thrush so far this century. Two of these were only identified because they happened to be photographed by individuals who had no idea what they were viewing at the time (Manchester 2010 and this bird). Maybe there are many more birds than those recorded because they are happily keeping their heads down in someone’s garden or orchard. I am forever checking out my local thrushes for something notable, but if I were ever successful my home patch could not cope with a rarity such as this!
   Jeff Clarke, 14/12/16 18:53Report inappropriate post Report 
Great story, Rachel. A Dusky on the Duke of Devonshire's.
   Edward Hutchings, 14/12/16 21:49Report inappropriate post Report 

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