Monday, October 3, 2016
Candidate Siberian Lesser Whitethroat, Filey 3rd Oct 2016
A quick one to document a strong candidate for Siberian (blythi) Lesser Whitethroat from the east hedge of the Tip here at Filey this morning (with apologies for crappy, way over-exposed photos - no time to change and check settings...). I actually heard it before I saw it, after pishing out a small group of 'crests from the hedge - a quick rattle, instantly tasty (and familiar from recent 'homework' on them) - and then fired off a series of shots as the bird popped out; I also whipped out the sound recorder pretty sharpish, but it gave no further call before I managed a very clear recording of the ill-timed, increasingly loud approach of a farmer spreading pesticides in the field I was stood in...
Taking into account the bright sunlight (which of course influences the nuances of plumage colouration, especially on subtle subjects like these), it's without doubt the warmest and brownest of all the candidate blythi I've observed (theoretically a more 'southern' bird, then?); from all angles, the upperparts (including the nape and much - but not all - of the crown) remained the same shade, and white outer-tail feathers and a weak mask were also noted. (While it looks potentially even more interesting in these photos, it should be noted that the tail pattern, proportions and call theoretically count against e.g. halimodendri on present knowledge).
The picture above is pretty much the only one I got that shows a more extensive cold grey influence around the fore-crown and face (influenced, again, by sunlight and angles); the one below, showing the crown front-on, gives a different impression of the brown dominating the head coloration, in strong sunlight... smart bird, and a pretty good shout for (southern?) blythi as far as I know.