Caught by the River

Matt's Mysterious Bird of the Week

Matt Sewell | 11th February 2010

After a month of nowt but gulls, my lack of spotting has really been starting to get me down. But I forgot sometimes the world is a magical place and even a stroll to a suburban corner shop is a voyage of discovery.
Yesterday afternoon I was on my way to the post-office to send off a screen-print when I was alerted to a rustling in a rose bush and this little startled fellow popped out. Straight away I knew I had never seen one before and my mind raced to the bird book enclosed deep within its chasms… page 241 Redstart? No! 242 female Black Redstart? Close but this one is pink! Erm, Nightingale?? nope!! Wow. So I know reckoned he was a foreign soul blown off course and since I’m now living by the sea, Hove was his first resting place from France. So maybe he thought I was Frenchman carrying a baguette and came to me for help before realising I was northern-bird-nut and started chasing him down the street to get a better look. Poor sod. Realising he was already probably quite tired enough after his flight and needs as much strength as he can to get past all the bloody cats round here, I got one last look and let him be.

He definitely looked like he was from the Robin family and similar to a Redstart but bigger, though it was completely brown with pink tail feathers. I’m back off to the post-office in a mo, this time I’m taking my binoculars.

I’m quite sure somebody reading this blog will know what it was, so if any birders or twitchers could get in touch and let me know that would be great (contact via I know it will probably be something local and I’ll be rightly put in my place and feel like a chump but I am willing to take it on the chin. I once found a “penguin” bedraggled and confused on Brighton beach. So I called up the RSPCA and protected it from dogs and locals, even roping in my girlfriend and her best mate too. After a few hours the navy uniformed worker turned up and taking one look at him the “penguin” leapt spritely into the sea and I was told it was a guillimot from up the coast. So yeah I’m used to this sort of thing.

Matt Sewell