Friday, 8 March 2013

Blast From The Past - 1992 Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak - Lerwick, Shetland March 1992

This one is topical with the recent Pine Grosbeak on Shetland. I believe the 1992 bird was the previous twitchable one on Shetland. We drove up to Aberdeen and caught the overnight ferry to Lerwick and connected with the bird soon after arriving which doesn't always happen. As is the case with many Scandinavian vagrants the grosbeak had no fear of humans and gave crippling views. In the days before digital photography, well for me at least, I had to wait until arrived home,and had the film developed, before I knew what I had got, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with these un-cropped images. Can't remember how it came about, although I was a subscriber at the time, but the bottom picture was published in Dutch Birding Volume 14 No 3.

Below is an extract from British Birds Rarity Report for 1992.

"Shetland Lerwick, male, probably first-year, in song, 25th March to at least 25th April (P.Barry et al.) (Brit. Birds 85: plates 201, 205).

The first since May 1975 and only the tenth record (eleventh individual) for Britain and Ireland, of which only six have been this century. During the early part of this bird’s stay, the interest in its occurrence was such that it made the national news, becoming doubly newsworthy when it was reported (apparently without foundation) that the bird was having difficulty finding food, through lack of its favoured pines on Shetland, and birdwatchers were becoming concerned for its welfare. Pine Grosbeaks periodically undertake fairly large-scale invasions into southern Scandinavia from farther east. The last sizeable invasion involving thousands was in 1976-77, but a smaller-scale arrival took place in 1989-90, and in such years there has been widespread, but unfulfilled, expectation (and predictions) of birds arriving on the east coast of Britain. The one in 1992 arrived in a year when there were no reported invasions into southern Scandinavia."

Pine Grosbeak - Lerwick, Shetland March 1992