Tuesday, May 01, 2012


The discussion just before we left for the first net round this morning revolved around Collared Flycatchers and if, if we caught one, it should go into the 'rarity bag'. The answer was unequivocally yes. Cue first net round and literally the first bird to be extracted from the nets: this beauty!

The bird is a 2cy that's moulted all but two of its greater coverts, all three tertials and the two inner secondaries during its pre-breeding moult; the tail feathers are also adult-type:

Collared Flycatcher is — despite the species breeding on the islands in the far southeast of Sweden — a rare bird down here; soon a small crowd had assembled in the hope of seeing the bird, though as far as I know it wasn't seen again after release.

Amazingly, I then "found" a second bird. "Pied Flycatcher with a moult limit in the primaries" I announced as I took the bird from the bag, "what does that mean?". "That's a pattern more often shown by Collared Flycatcher" said Björn... and then the penny dropped.

The moult contrast in the primaries is actually more obvious on the closed wing, but here you can see that the bird has moulted the inner four secondaries and primaries 2-5 (and overlaying primary coverts):
Although the old feathers appear quite unworn, the extensive (or limited, depending on what you're comparing it to) moult suggests a 2cy — iris colour agreed with that conclusion.

White on the primaries extends to P6. The white on the moulted primaries is more inline with an adult bird; there is a sharp step down to the white on the two unmoulted feathers.

The bird showed a solid white central band across the feathers of the hind neck and scattered whitish feathering on the rump, as these two rather ugly photos show:

And a few final photos:

Prize for brightest bird of the morning goes to this gorgeous adult male svecica Bluethroat.

And one more new species for the year, this 3+cy Tree Sparrow:

We finished the day on 224 birds (totals online — click Ringing), with note-worthy numbers including 20 Pied Flycatchers, 27 Redstarts, 26 Blackcaps and 12 Song Thrushes. It was, of course, a record day for Collared Flycatcher. The only sighting of interest morning was a Whinchat just north of the lighthouse.

Back at the station this afternoon, a gentleman called in to report that he'd seen a Red-breasted Flycatcher — a really early record. Sure enough, exactly where he'd said, there was a Red-breasted Flycatcher feeding in the tops of the trees.

Additionally, the kids found another female Collared Flycatcher (probably a 3+cy) at the north end of the peninsula, where they also had a couple of Spotted Flycatchers. A great day for flycatchers!

Finally, a couple of other photos from today, not of any great interest but I thought they were quite nice.
White Wagtail



Dave Hallam said...

How did you 3+cy the Tree Sparrow?

Stephen Menzie said...

Really nice rich brown iris :)