Monthly Archives: April 2013

Iberian Chiffchaff at Flamborough

First non singing record in Britain

Martin Garner and Gaynor Chapman

The Story Leader? This call  >> Listen HERE <<

Iberian Chiffchaff v Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin GarnerIberian Chiffchaff, Flamborough, April 2013. MG. It’s only ever called. Never sang. A female perhaps then? All records so far in Britain have been singing males.

Firecrest b 22.4.13

GC found this beautiful male Firecrest (above- fiery-orange in crown obscured) on the last hedge before the lighthouse on 21st April. MG a little gripped managed to get views on 2 occasions. On the 23rd the Firecrest appeared in front of MG plus a Chiffchaff. Only seen once very briefly it was nevertheless a bright looking bird- rather olivey -green and yellowy about the face. Disappeared quickly though shortly after a short series of call notes from back of big bramble patch. the bird/calls combo made MG think of Iberian Chiffchaff. Calling stooped, bird didn’t show again. MG mentioned to Richard Baines about crazy Iberian thoughts and let it go; crazy suggestion…

Fast forward to 25th April

Early morning email correspondence included with Andrew Kinghorn and Mark Newsome about the singing Iberian Chiffchaff which Andrew had recently found. MG included in a reply his sense of envy at Andrew’s find (aren’t some co-incidences really weird?). Anyway…

 Sharon (Garner) was meeting Flamborough doyen Phil Cunningham for music rehearsal at 1pm on 25th, so MG dropped her off. News of a Rock Thrush found by laser eyes Hutt at Spurn galvanised fight back mentality. SE winds in early hours and claggy/misty/drizzle conditions  screamed loud ‘rare bird weather’! Walk around outer head yielded few new phylloscs, c 20 Yellow Wagtails and a couple of Swifts. Returning (late again) to collect Sharon and passing the coastguard cottage gardens, MG heard strange call from bush centre. What is it? Pishing only caused caller to stop. Hmm dunno- something- perhaps odd local Greenfinch? Gotta go. Arrived in Phil’s house to find music practice is till ongoing when, just then,  radio crackles. It’s GC. She had seen wrestling with a funny phyllosc since earlier in the morning. It has reappeared and is calling.

GC takes up the story:

The Importance of Being Instinctive

“There’s something odd about that Willow Warbler,” I thought. Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers move through our Flamborough garden, just yards from the sea, every spring and autumn. It wasn’t just that this bird, seen briefly early on the morning of 25th April, was strangely pale, or that it was madly flycatching, or that it seemed unusually confiding – I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly. But the bird quickly moved on to a neighbour’s garden and I had stuff to do, so I dismissed it as a pale, too-hungry-to-be-shy Willow Warbler and forgot about it. I shouldn’t have.

Iberian Chiffchaff e Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin Garner

Glancing out at the front garden the same afternoon, I noticed the same bird, much closer this time in our Golden Willow tree. It flew out of sight, but at the same time an insistent call began. “If that’s the same bird calling, and I’m pretty sure it is,” I thought, “it’s neither a Willow Warbler nor a Chiffchaff!” A passing birder happened to be looking over the fence. It was Martin Garner. “Wonder if he’s listening to it as well?” He walked on a bit so I called him back – he’d heard the bird call but not realised a warbler was making it (the call was quite Siskin-like). The bird reappeared and we got a good look at it, noting the features – fairly pale legs, greenish above, whitish belly, lemon-yellow supercilium, throat, flanks and vent. And that call. “It’s an Iberian Chiffchaff!” Martin said.

Not just a first for our garden, but a first for Flamborough as well!

Gaynor Chapman, Yorkshire Coast Nature.

What was that call like? Have a listen: >HERE<

Iberian Chiffchaff 25.4.13 MG 1

Sonagram (from recording above) of calling Iberian Chiffchaff, Flamborough, April 2013

Iberian Chiffchaff h Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin Garner Iberian Chiffchaff, Flamborough, April 2013.

Focusing in: Iberian Chiffchaff

Few more photos off the bird, which could morph colours in different lighting conditions. For a Chiffchaff, essentially half way to a Willow Warbler, with prominent yellowish supercilium, lack of obvious Chiffy eyering, lovely bright yellow wash to face and upper breast, olivey- quite greenish or more greyish at times- upperparts, longer-than -usual primary projection for Chiffchaff, odd bare parts, especially dull reddish-brown legs.

Further down the wing formula kinda detail (all photos MG apart form Andy Deighton’s supper ‘wing shot’).

Iberian Chiff c 27 April Flam MG

Iberian Chiffchaff c Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin Garner

Iberian Chiffchaff 3 Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin Garner

Iberian Chiffchaff 7 Flamborough 25.4.13 Martin Garner

Iberian Chiffchaff Flamborough  g25.4.13 Martin Garner

Iberian chiffchaff  andy deigton 27aprilIberian Chiffchaff, Flamborough, April 2013. Andy Deighton

Camera tips for Digiscoping

SO_ATX_STX_birding_728x90_ani_en

Maximum Light, Maximum Speed, Minimum Touch

by Steve Blain 

Improving…

So, what’s the easiest thing you can do to improve your digiscoping? Get to know your camera. I know it sounds obvious, but most people don’t really understand what their camera settings do and how it affects their images. Understanding your camera settings will definitely improve your images.

Assuming you know how to work your camera, do you know how to set it up for digiscoping? Usually, best results for digscoping rely on your camera being set to accept the maximum amount of light available. Your ‘scope defines the amount of light available so all you need to do is set your camera up so it accepts as much of it as possible and converts it to a fast shutter-speed.

“What if I want to change the depth-of-field in my image?” (the amount of the image in focus) I hear you cry. You can forget about trying to alter the depth-of-field when digiscoping. Again, this is totally dependent on the apature of your ‘scope (how big your objective lens is and the magnification of the eyepiece you’re using). So with this in mind, all you need to do is set up your camera so it shoots at the maximum shutter-speed.

ScreenViewExplained

……………………………………The view through my Nikon V1

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Why at the maximum shutter-speed?

The biggest enemy of digiscoping is vibration. The higher the shutter-speed you can achieve, the better chance you have of getting a sharp image. You have to remember that you probably have something like a camera, attached to digiscoping adapter, attached to a telescope eyepiece, attached to a ‘scope, attached to a quick-release plate, attached to a tripod head, attached to a tripod. All of these things are weak points which could induce shake or wobble. Even if the shake is tiny this could make your images blurred. Do not forget that you are also working at extremely high magnifications, so a very small movement on your tripod head could translate in to your whole image shaking around by the time it reaches your camera. A tip is to make your tripod as solid as possible – even hang a weight from the bottom of it to dampen any vibrations, or even put a bean-bag on top of your scope to try to keep things steady, especially if it’s windy. The tripod is an important ingredient to top-class digiscoping images.

Camera settings

Finding the best settings on your camera could be a bit of trial and error. There are actually so many cameras these days which take a good digiscoped image that giving settings for all could take forever. When you look at your settings you are ideally looking at setting it up in ‘Aperture priority’ mode, and setting the lens aperture at its widest (its smallest number – eg f.2.0 or f.3.6, rather than f.10 or f.16 etc). If you don’t have an Aperture Priorty mode try using something like ‘Sports’ mode which aims to freeze action – this will set your camera up in a similar way in that it will maximise the amount of light and translate it to fast shutter-speeds.

Traditionally, your ISO number (your ISO setting controls how sensitive your camera is to light) had to be at its lowest to achieve good quality images. These days the handling of ISO in newer cameras is outstanding so there’s no need to go for the lowest possible any more. It still affects how good the image is, but if you’re faced with darkening skies and slow shutter speeds, bump it up!

Redstart_Broom_11Oct10aThis Redstart image was taken at dusk using ISO 1000 and at 1/15th of a second. Don’t be afraid to up your ISO. Imagine if you’d just found a Sibe Blue Robin!

Don’t touch it!

Tripping the shutter often introduces shake. There are several ways to minimise this. The first is to use the timer. Many cameras have the ability to set a timer which takes a shot after several seconds. If you have a co-operative bird this can be an excellent way of getting good, shake-free images. Some of the better cameras have the ability to set a custom timer, where you can set the length of time it takes to take the first shot, then set how many shots it takes. I usually have mine set to take three shots after one second. A second is just enough time for any vibrations mostly settle down, and three shots is a good burst. Often the first shot will be slightly blurred with the second or third sharper.

Another option for tripping the shutter with minumal vibration is to use a remote or mechanical shutter-release. New cameras often have the ability to use either a wired or infra-red remote to trip the shutter. These can be better than a timer as you have more control over when you capture an image. The down-side to some of this is their ability to break down unexpectedly, or the battery die just as the bird performs. A perhaps more reliable option is to use a mechanical (wired) shutter release which can be fitted over the shutter-release button and depressed when you need to. These of course aren’t completely free of problems, but for many a much more reliable option for capturing ‘the moment’ with minimal fuss and vibration.

RemoteForV1Vibrations are digiscoping’s enemy. Try using a remote to reduce them as much as possible.

Visit Steve’s webpages with lots more photos here

Baikal Teal at Flamborough. Further thoughts.

Aging and gaps in the wing

by Martin G.

It stayed for one day only and left with the same 2 female Eurasian Wigeon that it arrived with. By way of follow-up here are some comments on:

  • why it’s most likely a 2nd calendar year (1st winter/summer) male
  • timing of the species migration
  • why those apparent gaps in the right wing

BR 1 Baikal Teal, male, Flamborough, 15 April 13 (8)Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Brett Richards.

Some folk wrote in, others help with photos. THANK YOU for help with this post to Brett Richards for a most gripping find and much lively discussion as well as Nial Moores, Anthony McGeehan, Richard Millington, Adrian Kettle, Steve Race, Dave Mansell and Graham Catley.

On Migration and Aging

Nial Moores (Birds Korea):

Martin, as you know most of the world’s Baikal Teal winter in the ROK (Republic of Korea), with earliest returning birds arriving in September. Numbers increase rapidly through October into November; and the peak is probably reached in January. During northward migration the main northward movement through ROK (34D-38DN) is in early March. Most have exited the country by mid-March, with lingerers into early April (and a very few oversummering most years).

Migration phenology is perhaps less well-known for areas further north,
but believed to arrive on breeding grounds first from late April, with
egg-laying from end of May south of Arctic circle, later northward (latter
part from Baikal Teal account in series Bird Families of the World
published by OUP). Timing of Flamboro’ bird therefore seems consistent
enough with timing of northward movement towards breeding areas, where-ever the bird spent the winter.

BR Baikal Teal, male, Flamborough, 15 April 13 (2)Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Brett Richards.

Have had multiple discussions in the past about ageing. As caveat, believe
that people with access to and understanding of captive birds of known age
can develop and start to test criteria with much greater confidence than we
can here. Usual encounters here with Baikals are of flocks – which are
often quite mobile (birds peeling off the edge to get closer to the centre
again, as well as between sites) and these flocks can be huge (the largest
single flock I counted contained an estimated 671,000 birds!).

g catley1 BaikalDrake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Graham Catley.

The few criteria that I use to (tentatively) age birds were therefore
developed through comparing birds in flocks. In Sep. most Baikal males are
very dull. In many, however, the head pattern and breeding plumage body
strengthens through October, and by early November many males are back in
br-type plumage and then start to display and pair up. Some males, however,
do not develop full br-plum until much later in the winter (January or
February). Based on this timing (and behaviour), I assume that adults tend
to develop full breeding plumage 2-3 months earlier than First-winters. In
direct comparison, these presumed adults tend to have darker bills and the
typical male BT head shape; longer, cleaner-patterned lanceolate
“super-scaps; cleaner head-markings (with cleaner iridescence on the head,
and cleaner white markings); and more extensive (broader, longer) white
breast stripe on the fore-flank. In direct comparison, birds presumed to be
First-winters often seem to show some paler grey tones in the bill towards
the base; a less full-looking nape and crown (i.e. a head shape not so
dissimilar to females); less well-developed and less distinctly-patterned
super-scaps; dirtier looking white areas and less clean iridescence on the
head; and a less obvious white breast stripe. Some of these differences can
be apparent as late as March (and presumably into April – when most have
already departed from the ROK). I was not aware of/have not been looking
at the iridescence of the speculum – but have wondered a little about the
colouring of the tips to the greater coverts.

baikal teal specula SRDrake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Steve Race. All 10 secondaries are present on the right wing with one feather being displaced

Baikal Teal specula MGDrake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Martin Garner.

Baikal teal - 1Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Dave Mansell (East Ayton Birding). In all 3 photos above the pattern of green on the specula is restricted to the inner secondaries.

Wing of Adult male Baikal Teal (in captivity, Feb. 2010) Slimbridge WWT,  Martin Garner, (thanks to James Lees) showing green extending of green on the specula is greatest in adult males and reduced in young males.

Baikal Essex AK1

Baikal Essex AK2 jpegJuvenile male Baikal Teal, Chigborough Lakes, Essex, 2nd October 2010. Adrian Kettle. This bird also a one day stayer, also arrived with as small flock of Wigeon, also looks like the green in the speculum is restricted to the inner part (c outer 4 secondaries not visible), also had some pale grey at the bill base (present but little less obvious on Flamborough bird) and as the Flamborough bird seems to be, is also a young male. Indeed of the 4 previous accepted British records, all have been 1st winter males and all apart from the Oxford bird (which was unaged).

If these criteria are correct then based on the images on Surfbirds I
would age the Flamboro’ bird as a 2cy. There seems to be nothing odd about
the structure or the plumage of the Flamboro’ bird either (apart from it
looking a tad on the large size, and the shortness or absence of one of
those super-scaps on at least one side of the bird). The feel of this bird
is therefore to me, spot-on for a pure Baikal (unlike, I regret to say, the
super-chunky-looking Minsmere bird a few years ago – again, though, this
impression based only on images posted on Surfbirds).

Finally, FYI, the massive increase in this species appeared to peak in
winter of 2008/2009 (when >1 million counted in the ROK); since that time
there seems to have been another very rapid decline, at least in the ROK
(down to probably only c. 300,000 or so this past winter).

We don’t have so many easy-access images of Baikal Teal; a few images are
in our gallery (here) and others can be found through our websites’ search function.

Hope this is useful in some way,

Best wishes and birding,

Nial
Birds Korea


Gaps in the Wing

Lots of birds get gaps/damage in their wings. Lots. Deciding if these are the product of something caused by humans or a phenomenon of the bird’s activity is a curious art! Some further thoughts:

baikal-teal-1Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Martin Garner. Gaps in the wing. Some apparent damage? All 10 secondaries are present (see above) and 9 of the 10 primaries are visible here. That makes potentially a  single missing feather. So what does that mean?

Anthony McGeehan:

Hi Martin,
I’m sure you are thrilled with the move to Flamborough. Sounds marvellous! I wouldn’t worry about the odd missing feather in the Baikal Teal’s wing. The young Pink-footed Goose that arrived on Inishbofin in November (single Pink-feet drop in there quite often in autumn, obviously stray migrants) was pristine when it first appeared. It ‘teamed up’ with two feral Greylags and when they turned territorial in late winter they started to hound the Pink. I assume that this was how it lost some wing feathers – its wings are like the Baikal’s. If the male Baikal ‘fancied’ a female duck of another species (and it obviously would, given that it is unlikely to find a female Baikal) I can imagine fisticuffs with males hanging around and probably in rival courtship mode. The Belfast Baikal, once it stuffed itself after a marathon feeding session, was aggressive among Teal and Wigeon. So, in my mind, I can imagine that the odd duck dust up would have been likely – but then the influx of waterfowl with which it arrived dispersed as the freezing weather abated.
 Best wishes,
Anthony
Pink-footed-Goose,-wing-dam

First winter Pink-footed Goose, Inishbofin, november  2012, Anthony McGeehan.

Slimbridge 18 feb 2010 ad male Baikal

Adult male Baikal Teal (in captivity, Feb. 2010) Slimbridge WWT,  Martin Garner, (thanks to James Lees)

Baikal Teal, male, Flamborough, 15 April 13 BR2

Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Brett Richards. Compare Flamborough bird with captive adult male above. The central long ‘super’ scapular has narrrow black strip- apparently normally much broader in adult birds. Several captive 1st winter drake Baikal Teal had a similarly narrower black stripe on the same feather (original obs MG 2006). Furthermore notes on museum specimens indicate that in adult males the long thin white stripe above the eye, runs right into the bill base whereas on 1st winter males the white long can ‘break down’ above the eye. On the Flamborough bird the white stops juts above the eye and the area is yellow as it runs towards the bill base. A photo of the first British record taken in Essex in January 1906 (British Birds Vol 102 page  693) appears to show the same speculum pattern and the same head pattern as the Flamborough bird.

BR Baikal Teal, male, Flamborough, 15 April 13 (3)Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Brett Richards. And what colour was the eyelid on the Baikal Teal at Flamborough? YELLOW– same colour as the ‘face’ though surrounded by black. Twas a beautiful thing to see- and very obvious as it loafed on Northcliffe Marsh.
Baikal Teal, male, Flamborough, 15 April 13 BR1

Drake Baikal Teal (probably 2cy), Flamborough, 15th April 2013. Brett Richards.

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and then it flew off…

,

British or Yellow-headed Yellow Wagtail?

On Helgoland, the British Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima) used to breed in the 1920s and 1930s, but then disappeared due to rats. Since it is a scarce spring migrant with the occasional breeding record (the last in 1977).

On April 17th I was happy to add this taxon (regarded as a species in Germany) to my garden list, when the local sheep broke into the neighbouring garden, followed by a flavissima. The following day, the same happened again and I could see 2 males and a female flavissima as well as a male flava from my kitchen table. Together with Martin Gottschling I went out for photographing these birds and we noticed a Citrine Wagtail like rasping call – THE signal to check any Yellow Wagtail more closely, as there are many vagrant taxa from the south and east using this call. However, the flava male had already disappeared and only the 3 flavissima (2 males and a female) were present. While one male and the female called normally, the other male always used the Citrine Wagtail call, as far as we could see/hear.

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This is the bird in question – looks like flavissima to me!

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Sorry, my sonagram skills are still juvenile …

You can listen to a recording of the call >HERE<

So, could it be a Yellow-headed Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava lutea)? This taxon is still on the German list due to 2 records on Helgoland, which were recently rejected by the Helgoland Rarities Committee, as lutea and flavissima are not safely identifiable in the field and no call was recorded. These birds looked like lutea, but such extremes are apparently regularly recorded in the British breeding population of flavissima. So this time, it is the other way around: We have a bird only obvious by the rasping call. By the plumage features, I wouldn’t hesitate to call this bird a flavissima, though perhaps on the brighter side of the majority. However, is the call a safe ID-feature of this taxon?

Checking the literature, I found some hints only:

Alström & Mild (2003): Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America.

p. 281: “… Accordingly, vagrants outside their normal ranges cannot be identified with certainty, except perhaps by voice (see Voice).

p. 300-301: The call of flava, flavissima, beema and thunbergi … given both in flight and from the ground … is a rather loud pseeu, pslie, psie or similar …Also gives a slightly sharper psriee or tsriee (in combination with the above-descibed notes), which is possibly a less harsh variant of the alarm call (but is used as a normal flight-call).

The subspecies lutea apparently uses both ‘feldegg-type’ and ‘flava-type’ calls … We have not heard any lutea that switched between the two call-types (more research on the calls of lutea is needed).

Van Duivendijk (2011); Advanced Bird ID Handbook.

For lutea and flavissima no voice-feature is given, although in other taxa, the rasping call is mentioned in opposite to north-western Yellow Wagtail taxa

So, what does this tell us? Although flava and thunbergi might utter occasionally a harsher call, birds calling constantly like this should be of another taxon. Nevertheless, I think it is very unlikely that lutea and flavissima meet on Helgoland in a flock rather early in the year. A southeastern Yellow Wagtail I would expect to appear rather later in spring, as e.g. feldegg does, although there are some rather early records (e.g. last week). Southwestern vagrant taxa however seem to appear rather early in the year (there were already quite a few observations this spring in southern Germany).

To me this is just a flavissima. But if flavissima can call like this, then Rarities Committees should reconsider, if the call should be really the clincher for the ID of vagrant Yellow Wagtail taxa.

ARCTIC NORWAY – Land of the Eider

Along with three other friends and fellow birders, from 12th – 17th April 2013 I visited Varanger in Arctic Norway. It was a great experience and a fantastic birding destination. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the trip in March and we arrived too late for the vast numbers of King Eiders. We knew it would be a risk going this late but nevertheless there were plenty of Steller’s and a few Kings left for us to see from the floating hide at Batsfjord and the surrounding harbour area. Martin’s enthusiasm for this place and Tormod Amundsen’s GullFest activities have really put the area well and truly on the birding map.

With a little effort and patience, most of the forest birds were seen along the Pasvik Valley and the bird cliffs at Hornoya Island were simply spectacular. I can’t wait to go back..

Here are few images from our trip.

Pine-Grosbeak-32222594

Male Pine Grosbeak – Pasvik Valley – Tony Davison©

Siberian-Jay-33022577

Siberian Jay – Pasvik Valley – Tony Davison©

Siberian-Tit-08742596

Siberian Tit – Pasvik Valley – Tony Davison©

Mealy-Redpoll-31322604

Mealy Redpoll – Pasvik Valley – Tony Davison©

Steller's-Eider-12482652

Drake Steller’s Eider – From the floating hide at Batsfjord – Tony Davison©

Steller's-Eider-96512590

Drake Steller’s Eider from the floating hide at Batsfjord – Tony Davison©

King-Eider-94692586

The King – from the floating hide at Batsfjord – Tony Davison©

Puffin-23632633

Puffin – Hornoya Island – Tony Davison©

Brunnich's-Guillemot-26002686

Brunnich’s Guillemot – Hornoya Island – Tony Davison©

Road-to-Batsfjord-92112669

The Mountain Road to Batsfjord late afternoon 13th April 2013 – Tony Davison©

Blues, Reds,Greens

Yellows and Whites

Flamborough 18/19th April

Blue-headed Wagtail b Thornwick 18.4.13

Still lively here. Missed a fly through Alpine Swift  in the morning but was very pleased to find this male Blue-headed Wagtail in the afternoon. It was cavorting with 2 male Yellows, 2 male Whites and several Pied Wagtails. Nearby on a big green patch, 2 orange and greys – proper looking Greenland Wheatears fed. Are they really getting earlier or did we always have them in mid April?

Blue-headed Wagtail f Thornwick 18.4.13
2cy male Blue-headed Wagtail. Think it probably is a 1st summer bird with the partial white throat and rather brownish caste the flight feathers. Some tertial moult going on but not sure what that means. These not easy to age in spring (unless 2 moult limits visible in coverts only found in small percent of 2nd calendar years). Lovely head colour that morphed depending on light from rich  smoky blue to greyer and similarly lores and ear coverts could look same tone or darker blackish-blue. It’s all about the light you know. Call a sweet note typical of flava/flavissima/western thunbergi. Further comments on aging welcome.

Blue-headed Wagtail g Thornwick 18.4.13
both fightMeanwhile bit of scrapping between the migrants and some more wagtails:

White Wagtail 18.4.13 .White Wagtail b 18.4.13 . Pied Wagtail b 18.4.13

Greenland Wheatears. First one around 16th April, then at least half a dozen about on 18th April

2013-04-20_093836

2013-04-20_093917

1st summer male Black Redstart

2 birds at Thorwick last night (19th), one of which was a paradoxus 1st summer male. More on bird trapped at Spurn in similar plumage.

2013-04-19_204737
and from this morning… (20th April)

Early walk got my calling Green Sandpiper and smart male Brambling as new for my little Flamborough patch.

Brambling 20.4.13

Pipit ID Challenge

Aberrant Meadow

by Rune Sø Neergaard

Rune is an Administrator on Netfugl, blogger on BirdingNJ and member of the Danish Rarities Committee.

DSC_3127

This pipit was photographed at Bøjden Nor on the island of Funen, Denmark on the 5th of April by local birder Klaus Schak Laursen.

DSC_3146

It has created some debate in Denmark and Scandinavian Rock Pipit (littoralis which is the only race known to occur in Denmark), Water Pipit, Meadow Pipit and even Red-throated Pipit have all been mentioned.

It though seems that consensus now is that the bird is an aberrant Meadow Pipit. What seems to rule out both Rock Pipit and Water Pipit is the very distinct streaking to the crown, mantle and also the pattern of the streaking to the underparts.

DSC_3125

Although rather similar aberrant Meadow Pipits have been described previously (e.g. Birding World vol. 18 no. 4, 2005) the dark legs and bill, the orangey/yellowish throat and upper breast, the very large white supercilium and the greyish ear coverts, neck and scapulars makes this bird very deviant.

Comments on the ID are of course very much appreciated as are links to other similar aberrant Meadow Pipits.

Best wishes,

Rune Sø Neergaard, Aalborg, Denmark

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