Category Archives: 18) Warblers, Crests, Wrens

Digiscoping a Yellow-browed Warbler and more…

Justin Carr

 

On a recent visit to Spurn i was informed of a confiding Yellow-browed Warbler in the Crown and Anchor car park.

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All images above close encounters of a yellow browed kind

All images above close encounters of a yellow browed kind

Confiding Siskin

Confiding Siskin

One of many Goldcrest present

One of many Goldcrest present.

All images taken with a panasonic GH3 on a Swarovski 80.                                                                       Good digiscoping!!

Siberian Chiffchaff

as the wind turns east

Martin Garner

It was already late in the day this afternoon with light beginning to fade. A few of us were hoping for some more views of the Radde’s Warbler. Walking back up the last hedge at Flamborough I heard a call. My mind flitted momentarily with a wader overhead (like Golden Plover) and tristis Chiffchaff. No not the wader. The cogs were whirring in the brain. It’s surely that familiar sound of a note perfect Siberian Chiffchaff.

Can’t remember declaring one on call before even seeing any kind of a bird. Eventually the pale warbler appeared- loverly!

More of these please.

(photos on high ISO in rapidly fading light)

siberian Chiffchaff 12 oct 14.b.jpg v siberian Chiffchaff 12 oct 14.d siberian Chiffchaff 12 oct 14a

Moltoni’s Warbler – is there one right now

in Cornwall?

An adult male ‘subalpine warbler’ was found 2 days ago (Friday) by Trev Charlton. It’s been in the news as an Eastern Subalpine Warbler. I chatted to him today as he finally nailed some flight shots. It’s bothering him. Now I have seen his photos its bothering me too.

TCs subapl

How much weight do you put in your words. We could skirt around with… It might be one, it’s other Eastern or Moltoni’s or… what I really want to say (from the photos) it surely looks a good Moltoni’s candidate! (P.S. I bet it is one !)

You decide.

The call is really needed to clinch the ID so here’s hoping for tomorrow. Trevor has done all the leg work- he’s just bouncing ideas off me. I agree with where he’s going.

Why is it so attention grabbing?

The photos appear to show

1) an adult male type tail with no white intrusion up T5

2) soft pastel plumage tones kinda spot on ‘salmon-pink’ for Moltoni’s and perhaps a little too extensive for Eastern. Colour described as like cheap pink tinned salmon. :)

3) a rather thin white ‘sub-mustachio stripe’ (caveats about that feature but noted nevertheless)

4) there appears to be some moult limits- old and new feathers in flight feathers which should be all new in Eastern and Western but variable in the wacky moult of Moltoni’s

All this is explained in the book which has helped Trevor and of course this is what it’s for!

Helgoland October 2009

Here is an adult male Moltoni’s  Warbler which is featured in the Challenge Series: AUTUMN. These excellent photos were taken by Ole Krome on Helgoland in October 2009

Moltoni's Warbler ole Krome Moltoni's Warbler b ole Krome

 

 Porthgwarra, October 2014

Then here are Trevor’s photos of the bird presently at Porthgwarra, Cornwall.

Look at the list of characters above. Compare them with the photos below.

warbler w2  trev Charlton warbler trev Charlton tc 1 tc2

 

Could be an interesting next few days…

Certainly we will learn something!

 

Radde’s Warbler

12th October 2014. Flamborough

 

Great find by the young gun Lee J. Delighted that hard work of Flamborough Bird Observatory team made for conditions by which a couple of us could go and locate the bird enabling it to be seen by lots of visitors.

Was heard to call giving typical Radde’s calls – so that chance of Yellow-streaked  Warbler was eliminated.  More on ID of Radde’s and Yellow streaked of course in the Challenge Series. 

Having some breakfast :)

Radde's Warbler, Flamborough 12th October 2014

Radde’s Warbler, Flamborough 12th October 2014

 

Gambell, Alaska in September 2014

Outstanding outpost for North American Birders

Paul Lehman

Paul’s been writing of rather gripping exploits once again on his favourite autumn patch on Gambell. And if you fancy an ID challenge there’s one of those giant Bean Geese thrown in to the mix. Of course it’s ‘carrier’ species isn’t the same as ours ;)  read on…

“We have all sorts of good photos of stuff this fall  both Asian and North American…

Red-flanked Bluetail. 30th September 2014. Gambell, Alaska. Paul Lehman

Red-flanked Bluetail. 30th September 2014. Gambell, Alaska. Paul Lehman

There has also been a slug of good birds farther to the south at the Pribilofs, also with excellent photos,  (things like Siberian Chiffchaff, Red-flanked Bluetail, Gray-streaked Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher, Dusky Warbler, Jack Snipe, Garganey, Common Rosefinch, etc.–though not any great North American strays like we have had).

BTW,  we’ve had some very good Asian species this year (e.g., 2 Tree Pipits, Yellow-browed and 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Brown Shrikes, Common Rosefinch, Eurasian Hobby, the goose, juvenile Red-necked Stints) and even some better North American waifs–which would obviously make big Eastern Palearctic news if someone ever saw them in Russia:  NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, Red-eyed Vireo, Mourning Warbler, Least and Alder Flycatchers, Rusty Blackbird, Townsend’s Warbler, etc.

Then on 30th September on the ABA blog:

“News from western Alaska, Paul Lehman and company found a number of noteworthy birds highlighted by an ABA Code 4 Red-flanked Bluetail and also including Rustic Bunting (3) and two Little Buntings (4), at Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island. Read more

 

Bean Goose Identification:

We found a Bean-Goose this afternoon (16th September), below Troutman Lake, flying by
with an Emperor Goose.  See one of my photos, attached. The bird was
HUGE–seemingly 1-1/2 times the size of the Emperor in both body bulk
and wingspan when observed in the field. And the bill shape looks
interesting.

BIG Bean Goose with Emperor Goose. But which taxon  (or even which species?). 16 September 2014. Paul Lehman

BIG Bean Goose with Emperor Goose. But which taxon (or even which species?). 16 September 2014. Paul Lehman

 

juvenile Red-necked Stint late August 2014. Paul Lehman

juvenile Red-necked Stint late August 2014. Paul Lehman

juvenile Red-necked Stint late August 2014. Paul Lehman

juvenile Red-necked Stint late August 2014. Paul Lehman

 

Wood Warbler, 19th September 2014. Paul Lehman

Wood Warbler, 19th September 2014. Paul Lehman

Siberian Accentor, 19th September 2014. Paul Lehman

Siberian Accentor, 19th September 2014. Paul Lehman

 

European Lesser Whitethroat

 

 nominate curruca

With a fair bit of talk about blythi- Siberian Lesser Whitethroat- on the blog recently I felt the need to bring some basics; helped by this little fella on my patio a few days ago. I can’ be 100% sure but this fits my search image for European Lesser Whitethroat just fine. I think that’s what it is (as opposed to Siberian).

Compare with THIS BIRD and info

Here’ s a little showcase of what the common expected taxon looks like- to help me be prepared for the rare stuff. For more on separating European, Siberian and Desert Lesser Whitethroats see The Challenge Series: AUTUMN.

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough with freshly caught 'daddy long legs'

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough with freshly caught ‘daddy long legs’

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. Nominate birds tend to look greyer headed with whiter underparts

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. Nominate birds tend to look greyer headed with whiter underparts

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. In profile

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. In profile

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. From behind can still show brown up the nape so field views at variety of angles important to gain overall impression of plumage

Lesser Whitethroat 20th September, Flamborough. From behind can still show brown up the nape so field views at variety of angles important to gain overall impression of plumage

Lesser Whitethroat 16th September, Flamborough. A few days earlier a scruffy bird in Old Fall hedge. tail feathers moulting- just shows what can be caught on camera with a bit of luck :)

Lesser Whitethroat 16th September, Flamborough. A few days earlier a scruffy bird in Old Fall hedge. tail feathers moulting- just shows what can be caught on camera with a bit of luck :)

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat. blythi update

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:

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat Flamborough 8th Sept 2014

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:

ELWELW 6ELW 4

 

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.

bp_lwt_130914_whole_4bp_lwt_130914_open_wing bp_lwt_130914_tail bp_lwt_130914_closed_wing bp_lwt_130914_wing_point_1

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

bp_lwt_130914_whole_3 bp_lwt_130914_whole_2 bp_lwt_130914_whole_1