I eventually caught up with the stunning male Bullfinch in Bragar. I must have made half a dozen attempts to see it before flooking into it on a roadside bush when I just driving by!
There are a variety of sub-species of Bullfinch and in 2004 we had an influx across Europe of odd calling birds that became known as ‘Trumpeter’ Bullfinches. The call was deemed akin to a toy trumpet by some, differing from the usual plaintive Bullfinch “hue” call.
Plumage wise several authors have tried to eek out features to separate the races but have struggled to come to any solid conclusions.
So what of the Bragar bird? I only heard it call briefly in windy conditions and wont like to make a crisp identification on that, but one interesting feature to note is the amount of grey in the white greater coverts when seen close too.
British? Northern? Trumpeter? The waters are pretty muddy unless you conclusively get that call and biometrics. However out of normal range Bullies flooded into Shetland this autumn from the east and north, so it seems likely this is the Bragar males origin.
Some recent Bullfinch discussions relating to birds this winter can be found