Monday, 21 May 2012

As Ben is away doing his GCSE exams I will add a few bits from the past day or so. Migration has slowed dramatically, and other than a few left-over Spotted Flys, a scattering of Redpolls and a Whinchat, little else happening. 

A few passage Wheatears are still on the move. Most of the remaining birds on the island are of the nominate race now, but one or two leucorrhoa are still tricking through on their way to Greenland and Iceland to breed.

Not often these days are we faced with a bird we truly cant ID, especially when high quality digital images of the bird are available... However, this Phylloscopus Warbler has well and truly got us stumped and falls well into the willow/chiff category!

Initial thoughts were of Willow Warbler. In appearance it looks long, long primary projection, longish bill, pale below, greenish fringes to the flight feathers and so on. So what is the problem? Firstly the legs (which do vary considerably in colour in Willow Wartblers and Chiffchaffs, with acredula Willow Warblers having fairly dark legs, and some Chiffs having pale legs). The legs look dark, but the bird does not look like a brown or grey acredula type Willow Warbler. If we take a closer look at the wing formula it is clearly a Chifchaff. It has emarginations on primaries 3,4,5 and most confusingly 6 (Chiffchaffs are always emarginated on p6 and Willows only ever to p5). Primary 2 is quite long (better for Willow Warbler!) The wing is rather pionted as p5 falls quite a bit short of the wing point as in Willow Warbler; wing point on chiff is usually 3,4,and 5, giving it a rounder wing). So we are truly stumped. A hybrid has been mooted, but other suggestions are welcome!

Below we have a proper Chiffchaff for caparison and below that a Willow Warbler

On an easier note we have a Whitethroat  picture. Until a few weeks ago these little beauties were in very short supply, but fortunately it was just the clod northerly winds in April that were keeping them from our shores and not another population crash due to drought in the Sahara.

1 comment:

  1. Surely the Phyllosc is an Iberian Chiffer. Don't suppose it called.