Aging and Chinese Pond Heron

The Elusive Question

Phil Palmer … … got treated to a lucky private moment with the – huge caveat about the ID for cautious minded 🙂 – Chinese Pond Heron in Kent yesterday. Most intriguing are his in-flight shots. Cheers Phil!

For those engaging/ wrestling with the birds’ ID. The thick orange based bill, loral marks, underparts patterns and feather colouring (previous posts) and marooney bits, don’t leave you many other places to go than

Chinese Pond Heron.

Kent Pond Heron, Palmer seve Kent Pond Heron, Palmer five

Still it teases us my precious!

In terms of aging. Dark marks in small wing coverts may or may not help us with aging. They are small feathers and limited details and likely to be affected by wear. Phil has captured some of the best shots of the bird in flight.

Until we know the variation in adults and 2cy birds (and there is some of both from museum studies and effects of wear etc.  this could be a typical or darker marked adult, or typical or paler marked 2cy bird. Have a look: Dark marks are evident in the primary coverts, alula region and even maybe? onto the marginal coverts of the upper secondaries. What does it all mean? More questions, but these are the birds we learn from. (Ian Lewington and Martin Garner)Kent Pond Heron, Palmer fourKent Pond Heron, Palmer oneKent Pond Heron, Palmer threeKent Pond Heron, Palmer two.

adult (above)  and 1st winter (below) Chinese Pond Heron. Shows amonyt of white and dark in wing tips and coverts. Likely to be variation in both ages.

adult (above) and 1st winter (below) Chinese Pond Heron. Showing amonunt of white and dark in wing tips and coverts. Likely to be variation in both ages. These are just 2 examples, one of each age.

Kent Pond Heron, Palmer six Kent Pond Heron, Palmer eightChinese Pond Heron, all photos above by Phil Palmer, 2nd March 2014, Kent, UK

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