My office window faces south and because it was cloudy today, I was able to leave my window blinds open. When its sunny, it is too bright for this – I can’t see my computer screen. This morning, a small bird was sitting on a power wire high outside my office window and no resident passerines normally do this other than much larger birds – Common Mynas and Doves, for example. Our smaller regular passerines in our quiet city centre enclosure are House Sparrows and Great Tits, so nothing hugely exciting there and they rarely perch on our wires, if ever.
Close study showed the bird, which shared its time between the wires and a neighbouring roof for a while, to be a male Pied Wheatear in autumn plumage. They have been around for a while – last seen high in the Tienshan mountains on recent visits. In summer they often breed in rocks at the SW tip of Sorbulak Lake, some years sharing the space with hundreds of Rose-coloured Starlings (although these Starlings haven’t been back to this precise location for several years). They are common throughout Central Asia in rocky/stoney areas, but this is the first city sighting. Of course, to birds, city buildings are simply regularly formed rocky outcrops. So why wouldn’t they be here – ah yes, now I remember – that would be the city noise and air pollution. Presumably today’s little visitor was simply passing through on his way to more suitable climes and locations.