Notes on Use of This Blog


1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Monday, 2 March 2015

Orange Chaffinch !!!!! - on 2nd March, 2015

A totally different blog post to that originally envisaged!!

Sitting in our conservatory today, having my lunch between painting sessions (decor rather than artistic), my eye was suddenly caught by what looked like a bright orange Chaffinch! I saw it for less than a second before something spooked the fifty or so birds in the garden and they were off.

I hung around for a while hoping it would return and eventually gave up and went into my study to sort out a couple of things prior to starting the painting again. Suddenly it was there again, at the top end of my garden, about 8 metres away. My camera was to hand but, by the time I'd picked it up, it had its back to me.

Sadly, I never got a side-on shot, or even a frontal shot. It was soon spooked again and after an hour or so, I had to give up and get on with things.

At first I though that this was a strangely coloured male Chaffinch, but I now think it might be a female.

This was no trick of the light. Side-on the bird looked almost entirely orange - not the pinky colour of a male Chaffinch. Note that the rump is very orange, rather than the usual green.The bill is normal grey. I note that it is missing the toes from the right foot - left foot appears to be OK.

Does anyone have any ideas what is going on here, please? And before someone suggests that I lost control of the paint pot, I've been using brilliant white!

UPDATE: Alan Wallace has stated (see 'comments' below) that this is almost certainly a Chaffinch with a red pigmentation aberration, the technical term for which is erythrism. Thank you for this information, Alan.




Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (aberrant) - our garden on 2nd March, 2015
I'm currently heading into an even busier situation, and so it is entirely possible that this will be my last post for a couple of weeks or so.

Thank you for dropping by. My apologies to all my fellow bloggers if I've been a bit too preoccupied to visit your blogs recently.

30 comments:

  1. Yes an aberrant Chaffinch Richard, odd and intriguing stuff of the bird world. My latest encounter of many over the years was a 'sooty brown' Knot stood with four of it's 'normal' relatives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the confirmation, Pete. Apart from albinism, and a few with white markings where they shouldn't be, I've not seen many aberrant birds. We did have a brown Crow just up the road from here for a while a couple of years back.

      Delete
  2. NIce!!!! Maybe it's a color variation of the bird. Here we have House Finches that are normally red......but sometimes they have a orange coloration based on the food that they eat. It's not often we spot one like this but when we do, everyone get excited because they are beautiful. Great photos. Hope things slow down for you down the road:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did wonder about maybe its preferred food being a factor, Chris. I guess it's probably that, a genetic aberration, or conceivably a virus. Thank you for your input and your kind words - - Richard

      Delete
  3. It's a mystery bird to be sure, Richard. The only thing that I can think of is that it has been feeding on a diet unusually high in carotenoids. Is it possible the bird is some kind of hybrid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diet is a possibility, David. I did, briefly, consider hybridisation and even had a quick flip through the finches in the birdguide. I came to the conclusion that the only birds that could lend such colour were Pine Grossbeak or a Crossbill species!!!! Strangely, the first impression of the bird at the first glimpse was that it had the colouration of a male Crossbill. I did, of course, instantly dismiss the Grossbeak possibility, and the Crossbill possibility a couple of seconds later.

      My current thoughts are genetic aberration, or maybe a virus, as the most likely cause.

      Best wishes to you both - you'll probably get an e-mail from me in the next day or so - - - - - Richard

      Delete
  4. There's a definite lack of grey on the top of its head and nape area and in the second image a flash of red when it too should be. A very odd looking Chaffinch shame about it's foot but at least you're leaving me with a foot shot :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It actually looked even stranger than my images convey, Doug. Side-on it gave the impression of a male Crossbill (without the bill, of course!), apart from the fact that it was ground feeding.

      I just hope that it returns and gives me the chance of some better photos.

      I hope that you are now mending well. Best wishes - - - - Richard

      Delete
  5. Very interesting Richard :-) I don't know what to suggest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda. It's a tricky one.

      Delete
  6. Hello Richard, Sorry I can not help you with this. To bad the bird has to miss the toes. But it seems to be able to live with it.
    Take care and take your time.
    Roos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Roos. Sadly, we see quite a lot of Chaffinches with bad feet, due to a fungal infection which gives them the appearance of having thick white legs. I guess, in the end, the toes decay away. Strangely we we only see this on the Chaffinches - not on any other finches.

      Delete
  7. Interesting find. I wondered had in it got any Brambling in it however it would not explain the rump colour?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that its a genetic aberration or, possibly, a virus, Margaret. I did have a quick look at the hybridisation possibilities and decided that it was highly unlikely.

      Delete
  8. Strange one Richard,not seen one before.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is, John. I just wish it would return and give me a better photographic opportunity. Best wishes to you and Sue - - - Richard

      Delete
  9. Strange colour but re the foot. Our chaffinches seem to have various feet problems and I found this on line.

    Foot deformities in finches are normally caused either by chaffinch viral papilloma or by burrowing mites that cause cnemidocoptiasis. Both of these show up as pale, crusty growths on the feet of the affected bird. Neither condition is life-threatening, although they can cause visible discomfort.
    Keep well Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that information, Diane. I shall investigate those two conditions further.

      Take good care - - - - Richard

      Delete
  10. How bizarre Richard, a cross with a Brambling maybe, is that possible??? A good find never the less mate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Paul. Sadly, it's not returned - yet!!!

      Delete
  11. That is an unusual looking Chaffinch, but lovely pictures.
    On a separate issue, would you be able to let me have the HTML script for the BAWC logo that you have on your blog? I've struggled to get anything back from them myself, apart from a static logo. Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Adam

      I did the BAWC thing myself with a Blogger 'gadget', using an image lifted from the BAWC website (with their blessing). They hadn't sorted anything out at that time (see http://birdersagainst.org/logos/). I can't remember what the gadget was but it allowed me to nominate a Title (Birders Against Wildlife Crime), Caption (please get to know this site), Link (http://birdersagainst.org/) and Image. Blogger obviously converts this information into HTML, but I don't know what the HTML looks like.

      With best wishes - - - - Richard

      Delete
  12. Hi Richard, I have an interesting tweet today, a bird that is confirmed a crossbreed: Redstart x Whinchat. I have posted the link, not sure if this link works. I have also read of a swallow nest that contained young swallows plus an odd one which appears to be a crossbreed, Swallow x Housemartin. So it is possible it could be a crossbreed but who, that is the question :-)

    https://twitter.com/birdingetc/status/573098184144228353/photo/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've followed that link, Linda, and its amazing!! The translation from the German (by clicking on the union flag) was excellent! Thank you for that. I think that the jury is still out, however, on what has happened here!

      All the best - - - - - Richard

      Delete
  13. Hi Richard! Amazing birds and excellent pictures! Congratulations!!!
    Warm regards from sunny Poland! All the best for you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gentlemen. Sorry that I've not published your comment,and replied before now. I've been away for a while.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Best wishes to you both - - - - Richard

      Delete
  14. I am quite comfortable in stating, unequivocally, concerning the possibilities of the identification of the bird in your photographs that -- I haven't a clue. I've never seen a Chaffich. Yours certainly has beautiful plumage!

    It's little mysteries such as this which keeps us interested in birding!

    Try not to work too hard, Richard!

    All the best - Wally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wally. I've not been working too hard at all, but been away for a while! Didn't get much birding done, however.

      Best wishes to you and Gini - - - - Richard

      Delete
  15. Hi Richard - just caught up with your odd chaffinch. First thought was a chaff x brambling, but hybrids are unlikely in small birds. It is almost certainly a mutant with erythrism. Google erythristic chaffinch and you'll find some very similar pictures.
    Best wishes, hopefully bump into you somewhere again soon. It's been a long while...
    Alan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alan. I see what you mean! Will put a note in the above post immediately.

      Best wishes to you too.

      Delete

I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.