On Pink Stinks

Skerries Starling (see below)

I am not sure what is about Rose Coloured Starlings, but there can’t be a species whose alternative names are so contrasting. On the one hand there is Rosy Pastor, whose other meaning is a minister in charge of a church or congregations. At the other extreme in informal parlance is Pink Stink, which I guess has stuck simply because it rhymes.

There is a Rose Coloured Starling in Layton just round the corner from where I live in Blackpool. The precise location isn’t being made public, which is fair enough as it’s visiting a private property, but even if it was I am not sure I would go gawping. I have seen one locally, and I wouldn’t fancy gawping in gardens and annoying the locals. Instead I am reflecting on the three I have found, from a grand total of four / five ever seen in total depending how honest I am being with myself (that will be four then).

Skerries November 2014

I am not entirely sure what I expected to see going so late in the Shetland autumn, but I had previous. One October visit my highlight had been a Hoopoe, and on this occasion it was another bird more associated with southern, warmer climes. A juvenile bird was attracted to seed I had put out in the hope of enticing something unusual to rest and feed.

I assume this bird had made a very large movement prior to making landfall on this eastern outpost of Shetland, as it looked almost emaciated and certainly in need of replenishment. I am using the pictures where it looked its most healthy.

Sal, Cape Verde March 2017

I spent most mornings on this holiday going on birding walks from our hotel. I saw some nice birds in a Cape Verde context, including a couple of Collared Partincoles and a nice male thunbergi Yellow Wagtail as well as local species including Red-billed Tropicbirds, Iago Sparrows and three new larks for me (Bar-tailed, Dunn’s and Hoopoe).

On the last full day I had a last walk in the afternoon close to the hotel grounds (Ok, to the sewage farm) As I was about to leave I was surprised to see a Starling descending and landing some distance away. I didn’t expect to relocate it, but I did and was astonished to come eye to eye with a first for the Cape Verde archipelago. Unfortunately as I readied my camera it took off again, but I did get just enough of a confirming record shot.

Skerries May -June 2018

In the end this holiday was more memorable for bumping into a Walrus, but before that self-found Greenish Warbler and Roe Coloured Starling wasn’t too shabby.

This bird lingered for perhaps a couple of weeks, longer than I did but reported by subsequent Walrus twitchers and other visitors to the isle. The contrast with the the other Skerries bird I found couldn’t have been more stark – a stunning adult in the ‘simmer dim’ part of the year which on Shetland is all daylight and thrift. A Pink Stink among the Sea Pink, if you will.

Great memories of lovely birds, albeit in need of something or a re-branding.

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