17 January 2016

Unseasonal Lesser Whitethroat in Llanelli

The Llanelli, suspected Central Asian race halimodendri
Steve and Ann Evans kindly invited me to view a Lesser Whitethroat (depicted above) in their Llanelli garden. They initially saw it before Christmas, but after a long period of absence, the bird reappeared last week following the onset of cooler weather. This is now the third over-wintering individual of this species that I have seen in our area, each one closely associated with a garden feeding station: Bridgend [Feb-05] photo below and Skewen [Dec-10] for details/pics, click on link HERE.
The Bridgend bird, identified as the disputed north-eastern race blythi
The Skewen bird, suspected Central Asian race halimodendri
Racial identification of these and other wintering birds is problematic and it seems even genetic studies cannot provide conclusive answers based on current knowledge of the complex. However, general characters such as the extensive pale brown tones of the mantle extending up onto the hind-neck, pale ear coverts and long-tailed/shortwinged jizz appear to place the Llanelli bird more clearly in the 'Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat' clade than the previous two birds mentioned, with halimodendri being the most likely race.

1 comment:

Julie.a said...

Brought a lump to my throat Barry, we've been looking at photos and video of ours over the last few days.