Autumn update

Subject: Autumn update
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 13:47:47 +1000

Hi Greg

Thanks for your comments. We wrestled a little over this bird, and of course seeing the bird in the field can never be captured in a few photographs.

Three of us got together for another good look at it this-morning, and again concluded Scarlet Robin - bearing in mind that we're unfamiliar up here with robins in this plumage. But we do get Rose Robins through here every year, and are used to various shades of colour on the breast, and also varying degrees of wing bars. This bird's breast was decidedly an orange-red, in life not at all reminiscent of the pink of a Rose Robin, (though Pizzey suggests even pink as an option for female Scarlet Robin). Perhaps young female Scarlet should also be considered an option.

I've noticed that Pizzey and Slater and Morecombe all emphasise eye-ring, wing-bars and breast colours quite differently.

In flight, the wing bars were very clear, more so than I have seen on a Rose Robin. The head and upperparts were very brown and didn't show any of the darker greyish colouring I would expect on a developing male Rose Robin, given the amount of colour on the breast.

However, if the amount of white in the tail is firmly a definitive characteristic, I'd clearly accept that as confirming Rose rather than Scarlet.

I'll try for some more photos this-afternoon, and post the results.

Opinions on the photos available thus far are welcomed from those down south more familiar with immature and female plumages than we are up here.

I'll be very happy to come to whatever is the right conclusion about this visitor, rather than to defend Scarlet over Rose!

Thanks again Greg, let's keep working at it....

All the best

Bill Jolly






From: "Greg" <>
To: "Bill Jolly" <>, <>
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Autumn update - reposting with amended link
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2007 11:12:09 +1000

Hi Bill,
I just had a look at your website and found the photos absolutely superb. 
I looked at the female Scarlet Robin photos and while the one on the left shows the typical red chest colour it looked a little strange.  The photo on the right shows the red with a more pinkish hue.
I consulted my copy of 'Bird in the Hand' which shows the tail feathers and especially the amount of white in the tail.  The left photo of the robin with its tail open matched the Rose Robin and not the Scarlet Robin, which has more grey in the tail.  The relative length of the tail is more typical of a Rose Robin than a Scarlet Robin.  The Scarlet Robin is a bigger bird but the tail lengths of the two species are similar.   
Could your bird have been an immature male Rose Robin?  The buff eye-ring suggests a young bird.  The white forehead spot also appears a little small for a Scarlet , particularly in the side view.
Greg Clancy
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