from further east
This blog post is just for me- to remind myself what I have learnt should I need it again. I have known for quite a while to look for ‘browner-backed’ Oycs. It’s early stages of exploration in trying to understand what might qualify as a legitimate claim of longipes Oystercatcher.
Breeding as near as the Adriatic and north-east Mediterranean per Chandler (Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere) – and migrants reported reaching Austria and Hungry (BWP). So not too far from the ol’ North Sea. Those in the far east will encounter the taxon osculans which looks like an incipient or valid species by the way we classify these things.
In a nutshell longipes is said to have
1) browner and paler upperparts
2) longer bill and legs (though much overlap in both)
3) nasal groove more than half bill length (less than half in nominate ostralegus)
4) broader white throat strap in winter plumage
4) a cursory look at photos also shows longipes has more white in the wing especially on the outer primaries
So here’s a juvenile Oystercatcher (juvenile because it has large area of dark tipping on bill dull dark iris and orbital ring and some of those brownish upperpart feathers have pale buffy fringes) on South Landing beach at Flamborough that caught my eye in early October (1st to 5th). It was a little browner (and paler) above than the other Oystercatchers, including another juvenile it kept company with. The brown tones morphed darker/lighter according to light/angle. Compared with the other juvenile it was also a tad longer billed, looked a tad longer legged and had more white in the wing…
It’s a subject I have never really delved into. So at moment I am adopting the default position that this Flamborough bird is probably just normal variation within nominate ostralegus.
What intrigued me was this bird did stand out a bit and the nasal groove reached to just about or just a tad longer than 50% of the bill length. But then some other pics of ‘western birds’ show similar length of nasal groove.
René Pop has been a great help with photos and discussion re. longipes from Oman; Richard Millington also on the discussion front. The exploration continues. Might do follow up on the wing patterns.
THIS 2cy BIRD photographed o the Azores in February 2013 was hailed as longipes- which it does seem to be. The white collar is huge and it certainly has more white in the wing than typical 2cy ostralegus. But the nasal groove is only just longer than 50%. So at the very least if one can reach the Azores… (to be cont’d)