Devil and Magnus found a Twite today at Beddington- only the second site record - the first record was in 1991. It is also the first Surrey record since 2004.
A Beddington lifer for me, my 221st Beddington bird so basically a great day and work went out the window! Great find by Devil and Magnus.
We know the bird is of the race C.f.pipilans (overall darker than the nominate race) as the bird was colour-ringed and the ring configuration of pink over silver on the left leg and pink over red on the right leg has been confirmed as originating from the South Pennines ringing project run by Jamie Dunning.
Across the Western Palearctic there are two distinct populations. One of the populations is in Britain and Ireland (C.f. pipilans) and Norway (nominate flavirostris) and the other population is in south-east Europe and Volga-Ural steppe (brevirostris and kirghizorum respectively) (BWP) . Globally there are five additional races across Asia (HBW).
The population in Britain and Ireland has overall reduced historically. In the 1830s they were regular visitors to nearby Tooting and in the 1890s they were regular visitors to nearby Banstead Downs. However there have only been 21 records in Surrey since 1900- the last record was at Berrylands in 2004. Flocks of up to 200 used to be recorded at Rainham Marshes in the 1970s but numbers reduced from the 1980s onwards. In the 21st Century Twite are less than annual to the London recording area. (Birds of London and Bird of Surrey). So a local mega as well as a Beddington mega.
Pink over silver on the left leg and pink over red on the right- a bird from the South Pennines project
and for comparison.......
Here's a Twite from Georgia (former USSR) from a visit in 2003, of the race brevirostris. The racial variation of Twite is mainly ground colour variation with the European populations being much darker than the eastern populations.