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Rare Birds in Spain


Naumann's Thrush at Delta de l'Ebre, November 2005. First for Spain

Photos by David Bigas

Comments edited by Ricard Gutiérrez


The autumn 2005 ringing campaing being held at Buda Island, within the Ebre delta Natural Park, Tarragona was being very productive in both quantitative (c.4000 birds ringed in two months) and qualitative terms (e.g. Siberian Chiffchaff or Pallas's Warbler in October or just a Dusky Warbler the previous week!).

After having trapped and ringed not only those major rarities but a number of scarce migrants (e.g. different abietinus-like Chiffchaffs) or local scarce species such as Coal Tit (Parus ater) or Goldcrests (R.regulus) it was 'on the air' the common thought that something could happen, especially after the above records, combined with some Yellow-Browed Warblers here and there (even at the same Ebre delta) and the Valencia Red-flanked Bluetail. And it certainly happened!

When on 23.11 afternoon I received an 'alarm call' of a rather nervous David Bigas, knowing him and with the everlasting recall of the Siberian Blue Robin twitch, five years ago, I thought something was going on... 'Estàs assegut? Doncs seu'. [are you sat? then sat at once!] Què passa, què has vist! [What happens?, what have you seen!] 'Un naumanni! un tord siberià d'aquells!, hiper raro! el primer!' [A naumanni!, one of those Siberian Thrushes!, hyper-rare!, the 1st!] 'el vermell!' [the reddish!]  'sí, sí,...' [yes, yes!]. All subsequent heavy words etc... should better not transcrypted here :-)

Since the bird was trapped at dusk, in the last visit to the nets, and it was already dark, it was kept along with the other 40 birds of the last row to be released the next 24.11 morning.  This allowed some observers to travel overnight (some over 300 km) to twitch this 1st for the country (D.Bigas; Julia Piccardo; Yolanda Bel; Sisco Vidal, Laura Fortuño; Iago Brugnoli; Marc Pérez; Joan Ferré; Iben Hove Sorensen, Cristian Jensen; José Luís Copete, Rafael Armada, Ferran López, Albert Cama; Ricard Gutiérrez; Mariano Cebolla; Sergi Sales; Oriol Clarabuch, Toni Alonso, Daniel Roca, Maria Llorer, Lluís Estrada; Joan Castelló; Gabriel de Jesús). On 24.11 it was released at the same place (D.Bigas, M.Cebolla, R.Gutiérrez) and behaved normally. It was last contacted while heard calling about 10 AM in the Buda island river forest (David Bigas, Ricard Gutiérrez)

The 181 birds trapped the same day were Phylloscopus collybita, Erithacus rubecula, Cettia cetti, Passer montanus, Fringilla coelebs, Sylvia atricapilla, Turdus philomelos, one Acrocephalus scirpaceus, Emberiza schoeniclus, Remiz pendulinus and one Regulus regulus.

The bird was a 1st winter female, measuring 133,5 mm (maximum chord), 103,5 (P3), 73,9 g (weight), fat score 1, and muscle score 2.

It is the first for Spain. This form is rarer in Europe than its related thrush, the Dusky Thrush Turdus [naumanni] eunomus, not yet recorded in Spain, and there could be less than 20 records all in all.


Photos by ©David Bigas except the group photo (©Mariano Cebolla)

Photo above: David Bigas. 24.11.2005

Photo above: David Bigas. 24.11.2005. Note the two ticks. Interestingly, the Siberian Blue Robin from year 2000 also arrived with a couple of ticks in is head!

Photo above: David Bigas. 24.11.2005

Photo above: David Bigas. 24.11.2005

Photo above: David Bigas. 24.11.2005

Photo above: Mariano Cebolla. 23.11.2005
Left to right, above row: Albert Cama, José Luis Copete, Rafael Armada, Iben Hove Sorensen, Cristian Jensen. Lower row: Ferran López, David Bigas, 'The' Thrush, Julia Piccardo, Ricard Gutiérrez.

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Naumann's Thrush at Delta de l'Ebre, November 2005. First for Spain


Above photos:
Happy David and the bird. He has perhaps trapped and ringed the two rarest birds ever seen in Spain: this one and the 2nd WP Siberian Blue Robin in 2000
Note the reddish tail of the thrush and the overall very different look compared with usual local thrushes (Photos Ricard Gutiérrez)

The Japanese book was useful because of the very good photos, but none of us understood a word (pictogram perhaps better said?) of the japanese text. However, the identification of the thrush was certainly straightforward (Photo: R.Gutiérrez)

Buda island ringing area and the river forest zone where the thrush was first heard by David, then caught in the nets. The area is proving as a very good spot not only for these rarities but also for migrant control and ringing. The campaings are organized by the Delta de l'Ebre Natural Park, of the Generalitat de Catalunya government, which is in charge of the protection of nature in the area.
(Photos above: Ricard Gutiérrez)
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