Saturday, 12 November 2011

12th November 2011 Beachy Head & Margate SE1 Overcast

Little Egret 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Tawny Owl 1
Woodpigeon 100S
Fieldfare 1W
Chiffchaff 6
Goldcrest 5
Starling 120W
Siskin 6W
Goldfinch 140E
Redpoll 2h
Chaffinch 5E

 Scandinavian P.c. abietinus or Siberian Chiffchaff P.c. tristis of the form 'fulvescens' at Birling Gap
Unfortunately this individual remained silent throughout our encounter. Despite its overall tristis-like insipid 'brown and buff' appearance, the presence of yellow to its underparts, olive streaking to its crown, olive wash to its mantle, subdued supercilium and lack of any rusty tones to its hollow ear-coverts all lead us to consider it an abietinus. However, the two images below show the limited extent of the yellow markings across its breast, the yellowish-wash to its fore-supercilium and the olive streaking to its crown and hues to its mantle. Whilst these traits eliminate the possibility of a  'classic' tristis, they are shown by P.c. tristis of the form 'fulvescens' (see British Birds Vol. 98 p. 396-410). As the boundaries of 'plumage limits' between P.c. abietinus and P.c. tristis of the form 'fulvescens' remain unclear, leaving this silent individual unassigned seems the most sensible option!

Scandinavian P.c. abietinus or Siberian Chiffchaff P.c. tristis of the form 'fulvescens' at Birling Gap

Siberian Chiffchaff P.c. tristis on Hegura-jima, Japan November 2010
For comparison, a 'classic' (and vocal) tristis that lacks any yellow to its underparts and any olive to its upperparts. For more photographs of this individual see

 Tawny Owl at Belle Tout Wood

Margate, Kent
Mediterranean Gull 1
Sanderling 20
Ring-necked Parakeet 4
Eastern Black Redstart 1 male ex.
Wheatear 1

 Foreness Point, Margate

 Sanderling at Margate

First-winter male Eastern Black Redstart P.(o.) pheonicuroides at Margate
The first record for Britain & Ireland of this long-distant migrant arriving hot on the heels of a mini-influx into Sweden. The diagnostic primary spacing ratio with the large gap between p6 & p7 can be seen in the final image eliminating the possibility of it being a hybrid Common Redstart x Black Redstart. Dutch Birding Vol.27 No.3 states that DNA studies reveal Eastern Black Redstart P.(o.) phoenicuroides appears to be more closely related to Hodgson's Redstart P. hodgsoni than to Black Redstart P.ochruros. Also, genetic differences were measured up to 3% being the same genetic difference found between Pied and Collared Flycatchers.