Thursday, 8 April 2010

Urban Hoodie!

Just as I was writing up my notes etc. from a decent days birding a Hooded Crow lands outside my window! For me a 1st for the House, Patch and London.. Details as below:

A pair of Carrion Crows are building a nest in a Leylandii behind my house and I am seeing them go backwards and forwards with twigs etc. At about 15:40 I noticed a Crow had just landed on the top, c12m high, of the nearest of three Conifers, slightly facing away (67.29m away according to Google Earth). It was a bright sunny afternoon and as I glanced at the bird I thought ‘that Crow looks just like a Hooded Crow the sun is making it’s back appear silvery’ It then flapped to gain balance and I realised that it’s back really did look silvery, I raised my bins and saw that the mantle was a soft grey and that this was not a lighting effect (the sun was obliquely to the left and behind me and the bird, so the birds colouration was not being adversely affected by the light) I started to think this was a Hooded Crow and just as I thought ‘I need to check its underparts’ it flapped again to retain balance, thus revealing the same pale grey underparts. It then flew off to the East. I checked the local park at the end of the lane, which has a large Carrion Crow (c.80) population but there was no sign.
The bird was, to all intense and purpose, Carrion Crow size and shape but with a pale grey mantle, lower nape, rump and uppertail coverts with similar coloured underparts, from lower breast to undertail coverts including leading edge of inner wing. Black wings, tail and head, the latter going down onto the throat and upper breast and ending fairly neatly not ‘bleeding’ onto the lower breast like some hybrids I have seen but also not as sharply delineated as House Crow.

I have attached a terrible drawing to show you indicatively the pattern of Grey and Black.
I hope it reappears somewhere........

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