Sunday, 17 April 2011

Greenland Wheatear

It took about two days for the penny to drop. There was just something odd about the way that the Wheatear of April 6th sat in front of me, as it it were waiting for me to notice the blindingly strong head pattern and the rich chestnut colouration extending all the way down the breast:
The crucial wing length couldn't be seen, as this bird remained determinedly head-on to me the whole time, but surely this is a good candidate for a Greenland Wheatear? The ever helpful Nic Hallam pointed me in the direction of the Portland Bird Observatory website, where on April 8th this year some pretty big, colourful leucorhoa Wheatears were being processed. They bear an uncanny resemblance to the Cuddesdon bird. Which is about as much as Cuddesdon will ever have in common with Portland Bill.
     Digging deep into my files of other male Wheatears that I have photographed in Spring in Cuddesdon, I find only one (no surprises there), but compare the head pattern and breast colouration with the bird of this year:

Positively tame in comparison. The best Spring migration period ever in Cuddesdon rolls on, now what's next?

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