Daurian Redstart

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The theme of my morning bike ride was the Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus). I spotted three different brightly colored males. Two along one of the canals behind my house in our neighborhood in Onohara and the other near a pond on the grounds of the big cemetery. They are difficult to photograph because they are so small and skittish. The first time I photographed the redstart last winter, it was also near water.

There are 11 species of redstarts, all in the Old World (not the western hemisphere). They are named after their bright orange/red tails. Start is an old way of referring to a bird’s tail. Daurian is a region of steppe (grasslands) in eastern Russia and Mongolia where the bird breeds. That is a place I really want to visit someday! It is a winter resident of Japan.

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