Wednesday, October 30, 2013
In the late afternoon sun when the light was on the wane but a consolation for the Northern Harrier that did not come close enough for better shots than my last visit.
Note - for those interested, I originally posted this as a female until kindly corrected by James Hanlon. His interesting identification pointers are as follows.
'It is aged primarily by the pale tips to the greater coverts but the warm buff ground colour to the underparts, the rather uniformly dark ear coverts, the narrower streaking on the belly (than the breast) and the appearance of fresh flight feathers of a seemingly single age class (a bit hard to see admitedly) are other good pointers. The yellow eye indicates it is a male; the dark eye of juv females becomes paler with age.' JH
Posted by CBC at 7:48 PM
Monday, October 28, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Always distant, hence the heavily cropped record shots. I hope the different angles from Jame's earlier photos helps to confirm the identification. Currently thinking is a juvenile female Northern Harrier.
Posted by CBC at 12:01 PM
Monday, October 21, 2013
'This bird appears to tick all the boxes for the American race of hen harrier (split by some authorities as Northern harrier, but not yet by the BOU), a taxon which has occurred just three times before in Britain and never in Cambs (an old claim from Wicken Fen was found not proven). The unstreaked bright orange underparts and dark hood separate it from some lookalike cyaneus hen harriers, which can look very similar though generally possess some obvious streaking on the breast, flanks and/ or vent.
There are a range of subtle features all of which support the identity as that of a hudsonius, falling outside the known range of variability of cyaneus, including in particular the underwing pattern (especially the number of bars on the outer primaries) but criteria for acceptance is very much a work in progress and the goal posts could shift as we learn more about the taxon. It was important to sex this bird as there are minor differences between juveniles of the two sexes and the dark brownish eye colour indicates this one is a female. Rather oddly the form has recently started occuring with some regularity at Tacumshin, Co Wexford in Ireland, prompting some to question its true status and consider whether Northern harriers could be hybridising with cyaneus hen harriers somewhere. A DNA sample was recently obtained from one of the Irish birds and this may help to clarify the situation.' JH
For further discussion, see http://jameshanlonbirder.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/apparent-northern-harrier-in.html
Posted by CBC at 10:10 AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Monday, October 07, 2013
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Wing shape comparison (Little Bunting on top)
Tail feather comparison with Reed Bunting
Beak Shape Comparison with Reed Bunting (Little Bunting to left)
'I had three reed buntings in a net this morning, and was struck by how small one of them was. Then I noticed that the beak of the small one didn't look quite right, and the head colouration was similarly unusual. And it had white on just the outermost tail feathers, unlike in reed buntings. And the wing shape is different, and there's no emargination on the 6th primary. By the end of all this, I became convinced that this ain't a reed bunting.
I'm not altogether certain, but I rather think that this might be a Little Bunting.' TM
NOTE: ID since confirmed by Michael Holdsworth - Ed
Posted by CBC at 7:26 AM