Monday 6 February 2017

It's all Rosy in Sussex 5th February 2017

Finding myself on the Surrey Sussex county border on Sunday I took the opportunity to go a little deeper into Sussex and see how the Rosy coloured Starling was progressing at Broadfield near Crawley.

On a grey, depressing early afternoon with a bitter northeast wind blowing in my face I soon found the starling perched in its favourite tree and half asleep.

Well I guess we all feel like that on a Sunday afternoon. I stood there for thirty minutes as it dozed in the depths of the tangled branches, perched on one leg, before the arrival of some Common Starlings stirred it into action.

It never really came out from the branches so it was hard to get a decent picture but from what I could see it has now  moulted into virtually full adult plumage, with a marked glossy black crest and now looks quite smart.

For the hour or so I was present it just moved around the tree only dropping down to feed once, for a few minutes, but mostly it just whiled away its time perched happily in the thick of the branches, watching as Chaffinches and Collared Doves flustered around it.

It seems perfectly happy with its current situation and the regular food supply that is available, courtesy of the owners of the garden it is faithful to. I found myself wondering where it goes to roost. Does it join the Common Starlings and fly with them to their communal roost and join in the murmurations or does it remain to roost in the conifers at the back of the garden?

Another birder who joined me said he had been told it had been heard singing but there was no evidence of that today and I for one still have no idea what sex it is. According to my reference books it can be very difficult to tell until much later in the year when the plumage has become more developed. By which time it will hopefully be back in its normal breeding area. Maybe it will start singing, if it is a male, when the weather improves and the days get longer. 

This indeed did happen a couple of days later on Tuesday when the sun finally came out and the Rose coloured Starling was observed singing in its favourite tree

I assume it will remain for at least another month or so and hopefully I can get to see it one more time before it departs for its true home.

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