Wednesday, April 04, 2012

brachydactyla

It was an odd morning this morning; cold and windy again, and consequently just three birds ringed: two Dunnocks and a Short-toed Treecreeper. The treecreeper is only the 32nd national record for Sweden and the first since spring 2010, so a real mega bird.



In the hand, the bird was actually fairly straightforward to identify. The most striking feature was the long bill. Here it is (top) compared to last week's Common Treecreeper (bottom):
Contra the literature, colour of the supercillium seems of little use in identifying this bird — in fact, it appeared whiter than on the Common Treecreeper; that said, the supercillium on the Short-toed does appear to be less prominent in front of the eye.

The flanks differed from last week's Common Treecreeper — the Short-toed Treecreeper (left) showed brownish blotching, compared to the Common Treecreeper's uniform greyish-white fading to slightly browner (right). Bear in mind that the Common Treecreeper should be of the nominate subspecies:

But it's the wing markings that really clinch the identification:
Note the pale spots at the tip of the primaries on the Short-toed (left) compared to the 'wrap around' pale tips on the Common Treecreeper (right).

The Short-toed Treecreeper (top) was actually slightly atypical in that it didn't show the usual white fringe to the outer web of the A3 (large alula feather); however, everything else was typical for the species and this individual lacked the obvious 'step' in the primaries markings and showed a rather small mark on P7 — the Common Treecreeper (below) shows both an obvious 'step' in the primary markings and a large marking on P7.

The bird was aged as a 2cy and tentatively sexed as a male on the basis of wing length.
The primary coverts show a similar though less extreme pattern to last week's Common Treecreeper — the pale tip extends further up the shaft on the outer web of the feather than it does on the inner. Iris colour confirmed the age.

And here is it after it was released:

That's basically it for this morning. The only sighting of note was a flock of six Common Cranes that circled over the lighthouse, and a few Sandwich Terns that were cutting the corner by flying across the peninsular via the golf course.

We stopped briefly at the harbour road pools on our way to the supermarket this afternoon — water levels were very high and the only bird of note was a smart Red-necked Grebe loafing with Tufted Ducks.

This afternoon, a Ring Ouzel was sighted near the golf club house. We took a walk down there but failed to locate the bird; we did however find this Short-eared Owl that showed well as it hunted along the reef off Flommen:

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