Stanford’s Eastern Dynamic Duo

We are in the midst of a Siberian invasion. The fallout from the arrivals en masse on the east coast – and elsewhere – has clearly penetrated far inland with the county’s second Yellow-browed Warbler of the year being trapped today at Stanford Reservoir. But that’s not all. Also pulled from the net was an ‘eastern’ Lesser Whitethroat – this hot on the heels of the presumed blythi individual which wintered in Northampton in 2014.

'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat and Yellow-browed Warbler, Stanford Res, 12th October 2015 (Adam Homer)

‘Eastern’ Lesser Whitethroat and Yellow-browed Warbler, Stanford Res, 12th October 2015 (Adam Homer)

Adam Homer kindly provided some quick initial images (more to come) and an overview of the external features of the Lesser Whitethroat:

The biometrics pretty much matched up to the nominate race curruca so it looks likely to be blythi. We have ruled out halimodendri due to no white pattern on the 5th tail feather.
The bird was noticeably brown all over the mantle, rump and down to the tail.
The flanks were buff and belly was white. The head was brown with a slight greyish tone surrounding the black mask. Straight away whilst extracting it MickTownsend noticed that its eye was brown not unlike an adult Dunnock’s. Legs were slate-grey and soles of feet were cream. The upper mandible was blue-grey and lower was light grey at the base and blue-grey towards the tip.

Feathers which became detached during processing have been retained for DNA analysis, which Dr.  Martin Collinson (the legendary ‘Doc Martin’) at the University of Aberdeen has kindly agreed to undertake to help determine subspecific identity. Results are eagerly awaited !

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