Answers and Winners: 4 Mystery Photos

from ‘Pushing the Boundaries Tour’

Reminder: First UK-based person to get all 4 correct (and I have last say on answers ; ) Sorry the main prize part has to be UK-based as it has to be collected in person, preferably on the tour. Down to lowest possible taxonomic unit…

First person to get all correct but NOT to lowest taxonomic unit was Brett Spencer from Dorset  UK.

First person to get all correct was to lowest taxonomic unit was Tom from Germany.

First person to get all correct and live in the U.K. was Sean Minn from Suffolk, UK.

Most accurate answer was from Graham Walbridge in Dorset, U.K. (though given paper only just out there, I thought unfair to insist only hemprichii was acceptable for the Stonechat)

BOOK Winner: Sean Minn with little prizes to the other guys. WELL DONE!

The prize appears at the bottom. Here are the answers:

photo 11st winter male Caspian Stonechat ssp. variegatus. Hula Valley, Israel, November 2012. There is still loads to learn and figure out about the Caspian Stonechats. Aging may prove very important in identification of some birds. This appears to be a first winter male (other photos when I get chance or on the tour!). The white in the tail  was very hard to see in the field from above and appears intermediate between variegatus and armenicus. However aging as 1cy male means it is almost certainly variegatus. Had it been an adult male, identification  would favour armenicus (per Lars Svennson). To complicate matters a paper  reviewing the taxonomy of the 2 Caspian Stonechats and applying taxonomic rules, result in variegatus becoming hemprichii and armenicus becomes variegatus.

Picture2female Coues’s Arctic Redpoll ‘exilipes’ in Varanger, Arctic Norway, April 2012. This bird was paired with an adult male exilipes Arctic Redpoll. I hope to do more on this bird showing the male and this bird at varying angles. Streakiness and bill appearing ‘spiky’ and bit longer need not be barriers to identifying some Coues’s Arctic Redpolls.

Picture1Steppe Buzzard, ‘vulpinus’ Eilat, March 2012. There is another Steppe Buzzard taxon ‘menetriesi‘ but let’s not go there…Picture1 a1st summer male Semi-collared Flycatcher. Kibbutz Lotan, Israel, March 2012.

Le PRIZE: Thank to all for taking part. Hope to do more on some of these soon.



2 thoughts on “Answers and Winners: 4 Mystery Photos

  1. Brian S

    Hi Martin

    Your comments re the stonechat are very interesting, as they seem to imply that the amount of white in the tail on hemprichii varies with age – 1ws having less white and adults more? My own observations suggest that the amount of white in the tail is variable within age groups and I have not been able to confirm that it is an age-related feature. Based on this, measurements at Tring, and field views of two male Caspian Stonechats I identified as ‘armenicus’, I wonder if the bird (clearly a 1w) in question is in fact ‘armenicus’.

    On specimens at Tring, the white on ‘armenicus’ reaches to (just short) of the tip on the uptcs, but on hemprichii (‘variegatus’) it reaches beyond – I have measurements and will dig them out.


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