Sunday, 22 April 2012

Northern "Greenland" Wheatear plus other stuff

1000hrs - Did have a Blackcap singing from the borders between Pure Leisure complex and the Pine Lakes complex.

1130hrs - Just after leaving the roundabout on the A6 and heading to Burton on the A6070, within a hundred yards or so at "Tewitfields", there was a dead pheasant in the road. You may say so what, yes I agree, but has I got closer in the car, a Pied Wagtail actually flew off the dead bird to safety in the road margins! I was left wondering whether the bird was actually in the process of collecting perhaps feathers for nest building, or was there another reason!

1230-1400hrs Plain Quarry, Dalton to Trig and return.
A new Willow Warbler recorded quite near to the small copse which Chiff Henry uses.

In relation to Willow Warblers and by now having got some idea to the actual Hutton Roof (West Side) populations, I am not taking any more counts at least for a further two weeks or so, to allow all birds to find their territories, which in turn will later provide more detailed breeding evidence.

Tree Pipits calling from all usual spots including a further singing bird on the Crag House side just over the boundary wall. In the deforested, there were singing birds from the bottom on entry and also at 1/3rd way up on the "line of Trees", there was another singing from the "shrike tree".

The "Northern Greenland Wheatear" (see notes below) have I think now dispersed, after a thorough search. Although I did actually see a Wheatear on the SE side wall, it was only there for literally seconds, and was not able to get any further detail. Obviously this could have been a local breeder, just did not get enough details to form any opinions.

Also had my first for the year "Speckled Wood Butterfly" from within the Beech woods to the East of Dalton.

On way back had two new singing Chiffchaff in Dalton, one just lower down than the Henridding turn off and the other at the corner junction where Dalton Lanes joins "Nineteen Trees Lane".

Now in regards to the Greenland Wheatear, in my past notes I have actually been calling them "Northern" birds when I should have been calling them "Northern Greenland Wheatear" eg: Of the family "leuccorrhoa - leuccorrhoa". And even now I am calling them Northern Greenlands they could even be of the race which breeds in Iceland, but in my judgement I am convinced that the birds "calling in" at Dalton are of this sub-race. I did see them last year and again this year I am seeing them quite regular at the moment. In my opinion these birds are definately not local breeding stock of the "oenanthe" european race.

Perhaps this year in particular the birds may be a little early, but if so it would only be about 5 days or one week earlier than they would be normally be recorded and these April 20+ dates are actually spot on to the dates when I use to observe them on a regular annual basis back down in East Lancashire.

It is a difficult species or sub species to be exact, but I do tend to go from the "actual" behaviour of the N. Greenlands which can be certainly quite different from our "oenanthe" breeding birds. So besides behaviour I also get other ideas from eg: plumage, which can be slightly different, size, stance, and fairly important stuff too like group arrival times and the beaviour as a group. It does take lots of time and patience but well worth it. Its probably not as scientific has most would like, but thats how its always worked for me, and usually seems to be OK.

"In the field with this sub species (leuccorrhoa) there is no dead cert giveaways!!" but lots of possible indicators..