DNA confirms they DO occur earlier (as suspected)
Sticking one’s neck out can be a bit risky. Claiming Siberian Lesser Whitethroats in the first week of September might sound a bit rash. Yet the characters seemed to be there. One bird at Spurn over the Migration Festival and one at Flamborough 7th-8th Sept.
Why so cool (BTW)?
It’s got SIBERIAN in the name and molecular data suggests blythi should be treated as different species from European nominate birds. And they are a great ID challenge.
Here’s the Flamborough bird again:
More on the Flamborough bird is here
Lots more on identifying Siberian and Desert Lesser Whitethroat in THIS BOOK!
Peter de Knijff sent a most encouraging email with this remarkable news:
A Siberian Lesser Whitethroat was trapped and confirmed by DNA in the Netherlands on 26/27th August 2014. Very cool!
A second bird also reported as DNA confirmed blythi in Europe in August. So we were on the money. As autumn progress more blythi will occur and less nominate curruca. Are you ready?
There have been a scattering of records of apparent candidates in the last week inc. in east Scotland (Darren Woodhead), Filey (Mark Pearson) and Norfolk (Richard Milllington. Where will yours be? 🙂
Some shots of the Spurn bird on 7th Sept by Sam Viles:
One at Portland Bird Observatory on 13th September this year proved interesting. Thanks to Joe Stockwell and Martin Cade for their input. This bird had less striking plumage than the Spurn and Flamborough birds (though think prob. OK for blythi) and short p2. Martin does a superb job at photographing birds in the hand.
He does a very useful thing with white balance settings in the last 3 shots. This illustrates that photos can be quite misleading. Appearance in the field is what counts- more tips on watching and fieldcraft with Lesser Whitethroats in the Challenge Series: AUTUMN