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This european thrush is the size of blackbird, and its equivalent in mountainous regions. Portrayed here is male (or, rather "males"), easily recognized by their thrush-like shape, stance and appearance, and this bright-white crescent on chest, and those white panels on wings. The rest of the body is black or dark-brown. Female is duller brown, and her crescent is still visible, but of cream-brown colour.
Seen close to border with Russia, in a very cold valley, surrounded by a very tall Caucasus mountain peaks, some of which reach over 5000m. Valley itself was on some 1900m of altitude, and is regularly beaten by harsh winds. This group of males was seen on edges of an impenetrable thorny-shrub-covered zone, bordering the stream and just below the cliffs.
My holiday trip to Caucasus paid off on my hoby side, as this long-awaited encounter just happened in those beautiful mountains. The Ring Ouzel was one of the birds I was desperately longing to see since long time... No, not a "holy grail", but, yes, I was really strongly wishing for that encounter - there were no particular reason for that; simply one of those wishes. Anyway, in Caucasus mountains, I got that rare opportunity to spend some half an hour observing this group of males; and it was just magical. I found the place totally by chance; I was trying to get a better shot of a large bird of prey that just landed high above me; and stumbled upon that dense growth of shrubs... and there were about 10 of them foraging and playing in that grove; at a first glance, I thought they were blackbirds; they saw me but were not alarmed... I snatched few shots of that raptor, and refocused my attention on thrushes; and realized what (or whom?) I was observing... I kept my distance, and tried doing everything in a real slow-motion; we observed each other for some time; and I got a few shots with birds half hidden; finally some of them got out in the clear, continuing their business ignoring me (Yess!), and I just shot as many shots I wanted; from a maximum of 15 meters distance... That was really brilliant experience; even though I was quite surprised not to see any female?
Lat: 42.67, Long: 44.65
Spotted on Apr 19, 2019
Submitted on Apr 21, 2019
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