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Salmon Arm  

A'twitter over rare bird

A little thrush that's a long way from home is enchanting bird watchers in the Shuswap.

Experienced birders Roger Beardmore and Nan Prittie say the fieldfare, a species of thrush usually found in Europe, Asia or North Africa, has been making itself comfortable with a flock of robins in Salmon Arm.

Beardmore says Prittie spotted the bird as they took part in an annual bird count and neither believed they'd seen anything out of the ordinary until carefully studying a picture he snapped.

Beardmore, a retired Parks Canada employee, says there's no question it's a fieldfare, but how it arrived in Salmon Arm or how long it will stay is a mystery, although he notes that it's very comfortable in cold weather and has ample mountain ash berries to eat.

The fieldfare looks a lot like an immature robin because of its colouring, and Beardmore says it's only been seen once before in B.C. in 2003.

He describes the bird as gregarious and says it has attracted a lot of attention from birders, travelling as far away as Washington state and Vancouver Island, who want to catch a glimpse of the rare visitor.



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