Monday 21 April 2014


I've seen so few wheatears this spring that I couldn't resist spending some time watching and photographing a small party of at least 6 birds (5 males), in the top fields this afternoon. It's interesting to note the variation in colour saturation on the underparts in this small sample of birds. As there appeared to be no noticeable size difference I'm not certain any of these are north-western birds (Iceland/Greenland) but at least one individual exhibited quite a strong orange flush to the breast and a much more brown-toned mantle. It looked significantly darker in flight and is therefore a contender for 'leucorhoa'.

Note the difference in underpart orange and mantle colour between the top two individuals and the bird below. 

possible 'Greenland' wheatear?

Other birds on Orcombe today included a female redstart, 3 whitethroat, at least 3 blackcap, 4+ chiffchaff, 1 whimbrel, c30+ swallow and my first 3 house martin of the year. So migration is still slow here in Exmouth but at least there were plenty of butterflies on the wing this afternoon, including several orange tip. I also found a dark-looking silver  Y - a moth that is seen much more frequently later on in the summer.
Off Mudbank there was 1 dark-bellied brent goose, 1 pale-bellied brent goose, 7 common gull and 10+ whimbrel.

 silver Y

orange tip

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