Saturday, 19 November 2016

Siberian Stonechat

Wirral birder Phil Woollen touched down on Fair Isle on 13 October for a birding trip with mates, and in no time at all they were watching a female Pine Bunting, the first of many a 'goodie' they saw during the trip. 

Hopes had been high that the week would produce a mega rarity, and sure enough on day four they received a message to say a Siberian Stonechat had been found, the claim being that it was a possible Stejnegers.

Being the Saxicola person that I am - somewhere between mad keen and a fanatic - my eyes lit up when I saw Phil's account and photographs of the bird on his blog. I contacted Phil and asked if I could copy some of his images onto Birds2blog, thankfully he agreed.
Possible Stejnegers Stonechat. Phil Woollen.

There are six subspecies of Siberian Stonechat over central and eastern Eurasia, east through Siberia to China and Japan, south to northern India, Pakistan and northern Indonesia.

The most distinct characteristic attributed to the Siberian Stonechat to allow them to be identified from the two races of European Stonechat, is the tone and extent of colour on the rump which, compared to the western races, is that they are always pale rufous-buff and totally unmarked, this is clearly illustrated in Phil Woollen's excellent in flight image above, the rump patch is also considerably larger than is seen in the two western races. In autumn and winter, the overall colour of Siberian Stonechat is also paler than that of the European Stonechat. 

Confusion sets in when, S.m Stejneger is very similar in plumage detail and size to S.m maura, so much so that many vagrants that arrive in western Europe in autumn are not specifically identified, and are recorded as S.m Maura/S.m Stejneger, as it is often impossible to separate them racially in the field. 

It's also interesting, that female and juvenile Siberian Stonechats both resemble female and juvenile Whinchat in face and body pattern, in this regard Phil's top image above clearly illustrates the resemblance....but then you see the rump!

The bird that Phil connected with was eventually caught/ringed and a feather sent for DNA analysis....It would be interesting to see what the result of this will be.

Thanks to Phil Woolen for the images including my new header, excellent and much appreciated Phil.   

St Peter's Ravens.

St Peter's Cathedral. Boyd Harris.

This is the same view of St Peter's Cathedral in Lancaster which I had as I walked up East Road on Wednesday. I saw 3 Raven around the cross on the steeple, one bird was perched on the very tip of the cross, whilst the other two were diving at the perched bird....Quite a spectacle.

Garden Birds.

Blackcap Simon Hawtin

KT reports a male Blackcap in our garden in my absence on Friday morning, an excellent sighting.


Noushka said...

Interesting post Pete, I would also be curious at the DNA results on that bird!
Enjoy your WE :)

Richard Pegler said...

I see that the DNA results have proved positive, Pete!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Pete.. Nice shots.. :-)))

Sometimes in bad weather you see interesting things .. In Madrid we have rain in this days .. A blessing for nature!! .. A cordial greeting and happy week muy friend..