As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 22 December 2014

Beijing's red alert for 'lost' robin

CHEEKY robins for all their Christmas charisma are hardly poster pin-ups for the twitching masses.

Published: 10:08, Sun, December 21, 2014

Appearances on greetings cards, wrapping paper and festive tree baubles are one thing but the notion of a cheery redbreast preening in front of hundreds of assembled cameras does sound a little incongruous.

Take a peek at this week's photo and while the robin looks very much like your common-orgarden favourite, the way it was pictured in all its flame-toned glory has become the talk of the birdwatching world.

However this delightful individual has been holding court in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park, creating the kind of scenes reminiscent of a rarity arrival on the Isles of Scilly or the north Norfolk coast.

How this robin arrived in the Chinese capital thousands of miles from its European home is open to conjecture. There is increasing evidence that small populations of migratory birds often take a "left-hand turn" and fly in the reverse direction in autumn as a survival technique against a possible disaster on their normal wintering ranges.

Whatever the reason for the robin's arrival in Beijing, its presence has been headline news and the talk among China's burgeoning birding community or, to be more accurate, bird photographers who have turned up in huge numbers to get the kind of close up that epitomises the festive season in the UK.

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