The wintering Lesser Whitethroat made sporadic appearances in Dave Jackson’s garden again today, being seen only briefly once in the early morning, again at 11.50 and then again at 15.10, after which it appeared on three more short occasions with the last at about 15.50, which was just long enough for Dave to capture some more images and for me to snatch some video.
What a difference a day makes! The lighting was different today and the bird looked much, much browner – sandier even – than yesterday, adding weight to its likely eastern origin. Thinnish bill, very brown, almost ginger-toned, tertials and primary projection possibly on the short(ish) side. Still unable to get a view of the outer tail feathers to assess the extent of white. This bird could also appear quite long-tailed, a little pinched in toward the base, giving it almost spoon-like appearance at times.
After some research it’s now looking pretty good for halimodendri (Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat), a view forwarded by Gary Pullan, who also saw the bird today. Its pro-‘eastern’ features include brownish nape merging into grey of crown, sandy-brown upperparts, minimal dark mask, white throat contrasting with noticeably peachy-buff flanks and breast and apparently shortish wings, with the primary projection c.50% of the length of the tertials (nominate curruca said to be c.70%). But it could still be Siberian blythi …
Thanks once again to Dave Jackson for more images. I would welcome any comments or thoughts on the bird’s racial identification.