Sunday, 24 November 2019

DNA results are in! (PART TWO)

These are more interesting (if you like that sort of thing!).   It proved to be an unprecedented autumn for 'Eastern Lesser Whitethroats' with an estimated 17 individuals recorded between 23rd September and 18th October.   A total of eight birds were caught in this period, all of which were analysed, the results of which appear below;

NUMBER 1 - 25th September

This, confiding, dumpy looking bird was thought to be maybe not a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat (the commonest race of 'Eastern Lesser Whitethroat' but its shape was altered by it missing half its tail, with the crucial T5 missing, clouding in the field and hand ID.   It was confirmed by mtDNA as S. c. blythi or Siberian Lesser Whitethroat.

NUMBER 2 - 26th September

This bird was caught at dusk so the pictures were a bit ropey but it was confirmed as a S. c. blythi

NUMBER 3 - 28th September

Also confirmed as S. c. blythi

NUMBER 4 - 3rd October

Another fine S. c. blythi

NUMBER 5 - 4th October

Also a S. c. blythi but the only one with a big white wedge on T5 and very bright, white T6

NUMBER 6 - also 4th October

Another S. c. blythi

NUMBER 7 - 17th October

This one was a bit of a surprise, when caught I thought it was 'just' another S. c. blythi but photos do suggest a bluer head, slightly less browny back and longer winged (wing length was slightly longer than the other blythi trapped).   Photos though, can be misleading, often accentuating the dark mask and especially in strong light, changing the mantle tones so, despite my thoughts in the hand at the time, this bird came back as a late, nominate S. c. curruca.

NUMBER 8 - 18th October

Similar to the previous bird in that when I caught it I was leaning towards it being Eastern (I was perhaps swayed by the date) but in photos, with the blue head, grey/blue mantle it looks an obvious S. c. curruca which is exactly what it came back as - it wasn't that obvious in the hand with your naked eye though!

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