Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wacky Races

Acredula-type Willow Warbler, Filey Dams, 2nd May 2013

With internet coverage finally gracing our new airspace, time to catch up on recent happenings, starting with these two from last week. One advantage of recent slim pickings is the opportunity to look a little harder at the commoner migrants, and this washed-out, grey-cast Willow Warbler was a good case in point.

(NB in this photo the bird appears far greener than in reality, on account of shooting through vegetation, creating an unnatural 'filter'.)  

Feeding in the willows and rank vegetation by the East Lea gate and with many other warblers close by, it naturally stood out a mile, allowing direct comparison with it's 'normal' trochilus brethren (who chased it into a nearby garden several times). Very distinctive, but on present understanding of sub-specific variation, no more than acredula-type.....

For comparison, a 'regular' trochilus from the same location a couple of weeks earlier

Greenland-type Northern Wheatear, Filey Brigg,  3rd May 2013

..... not unlike this cracking male leucorhoa-type Northern Wheatear, fresh-in on Carr Naze the following day (complete with strong apricot wash from throat to undertail coverts). Again, on present understanding, no more than strongly suggestive of the Greenland / Iceland race. Once upon a time, the word 'type' wouldn't have been necessary; but then once upon a time, lazy assumptions were far easier to reach. Comments welcome.