Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bobolink - Hillwell, Shetland 26th October

A 1st winter bobolink was found today on Shetland at Brake, Hillwell, mainland Shetland by Paul Harvey and Roger Riddington. Jim Wood was, as always, on the ball and managed to get this shot:

Bobolink, Hillwell, Shetland - James Wood
Bobolink, Hillwell, Shetland 
(James Wood - see more of James stunning photographs here:

If accepted, this will be the 35th British record of this species, the last being from Pembrokeshire and Glamorgan in September and October, 2010 respectively.

Bobolink is  one of the Icterids, a New World family comprising the orioles, grackles and cowbirds although to 'our' eyes it closely resembles the buntings of the Old World, in fact it is so dissimilar to other icterids that it was once given its own subfamily. Red-shouldered blackbird (below) is a more typical member of the family. The bobolink breeds across southern Canada and northern North America migrating south in large flocks along the eastern seaboard of the USA and through the Greater Antilles in the autumn. Much of the population winters in eastern Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina where large flocks of many thousands of birds are nomadic within extensive areas of grassland and Pantanal.

Red-shouldered Blackbird, Cuba - Simon Colenutt - The Deskbound Birder
Red-shouldered Blackbird, Zapata, Cuba (Simon Colenutt). 
Endemic to Cuba and the Isle of Pines