Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warbler and rasping flavas
Spurn – 17th August 2010
Early start again and Pied Flycatcher at 6:10 am at the Warren boded well. Walked the full length of the point and added another Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Whinchat, 12 Willow Warblers and – bonus ball- a stunning Wood Warbler at the point. The long winger is scarce at Spurn (3 records in autumn 2009) and always a treat to look at. A buzzy calling juvenile flava (Yellow Wagtail) really distracted me for a spell. Then I hitched a lift back to the Warren 4 hours after starting out, just in time to find the earlier Pied Flycatcher had been trapped.
Pied Flycather is one of those ‘proper migrants’ and for me always a bonus to see and when giving close views, a chance to learn. With the identification challenge of potential vagrants Collared, Semi-collared and Atlas Flycatchers, I enjoy the opportunity for a black and white flycatcher refresher. I also learnt about (trying to) sex first winters from Paul Collins and Adam Hutt.
Couple of photos of the bird, one labelled to point out some features, the other left clean to show how nice it looks.
1st winter (perhaps male) Pied Flycatcher, The Warren, Spurn 17th August 2010
And I dug this one out, below. An interesting bird also seen at the Warren, Spurn on 30th August 2008. The uppertail coverts look rather (broadly fringed) brownish, so perhaps is a female. The middle tertial ‘step’ = another first winter.
What’s intriguing about this one is the reduced white, at the primary bases but especially at the tertial bases. The white on the outer edge of the 3 tertials is a neat, narrow, even fringe. On many 1st winter Pied Flycatchers the white broadens towards the base on the 2 larger tertials and merges across the base of all 3 feathers (as above).
Question. Is this ‘separated white’ on the tertials indicative of some 1st winter females – i.e. is it ever shown by 1st winter males?
The pattern is also shown by female Semi-collared Flycatchers – but you need to see a bunch of other features to nail one of those!