and interesting wing tips
by Martin G
Which plumage is the Kent Bird moulting into?
The broad brush strokes usually go like this: There are several species of Pond Herons ‘ardeola’. In winter plumage they look very similar/ are impossible to identify. In summer plumage they turn into ornately coloured pond fairies 🙂 . The Kent bird is moulting into one of them.
CLICK on photo sets above for better views. Thanks to Dave Gandy for help. More on his blog too. >>>Visit Now<<<
Squacco Heron in March (left) and Javan Pond Heron of (ssp. continentalis) in April (right)
Escape of Vagrant?
OK. Which plumage/species is the Kent bird moulting into? There are other species of Pond Heron but these are the main candidates. Based on origins, known movements and presence in European zoos the (very broad) view is roughly:
Javan Pond Heron. speciosa Not expected as natural vagrant. More common in zoos
Chinese Pond Heron. bacchus Longer distance migrant (though Britain is a LONG way). Rare/ not present in zoos. The hoped for card.
Indian Pond Heron. grayii Less likely as vagrant to Britain naturally reaching south-eastern parts of Western Palearctic region. i.e. East Mediterranean and Middle East. Handful in Zoos?
Thanks to our local chap a few more pics of the bird from the weekend. Helpful shots of the wing tips appear here. Notice how much dark is present in the primaries. Depending to some degree on angle of light, the outer 2 primaries are rather extensively dark, along the outer web right up to the primary coverts. The is quite a lot of dark pigment on all the primary tips. In conversation with Ian Lewington and as continuation of conversation of several years! See some of our >>> OLD STUFF <<< . We think (still looking into) that this is too much dark on the wing tips in winter for ANY plumage of Squacco Heron. Hypothesis: This much dark in primary tips in winter = Asian taxa of Pond Heron? Discovering.
Dark shaft streaks in primary coverts and primary shafts are at least interesting though have not seen good enough photos of the lesser coverts – yet. To be cont’d…
Kent Chinese Pond Heron (looks like that way me!) above 2 photos late February 2014
Squacco Herons below in Israel March 2012. Compare wing tips.
Photo added showing dark at wing tips of Kent bird, tad different angle. See discussion below: