“EXCESS, n. In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.”
- Abrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
Many thanks for the one who has kindly sent to us a package of eastern birds!
After some days with the right easterly winds but low numbers of captures (ironically because it was too windy), the eastern species has finally reached the Peninsula. We had been waiting for the Sunday all the week long but not because of holidays (a ringer doesn’t know what they are) but because it was the day when the wind was supposed to drop.
Things finally changed on Saturday night, when we went to twitch a River warbler just south from Malmö. The bird started to sing just 5 minutes after we arrived. Nicer than expected!
The Sunday started quiet, with just a few birds in the first net round. However, there was something magic in the atmosphere. I know it’s easy to say this after the event, but I promise it was! The actual excitement started when we caught a nice female Collared flycatcher. Just to make it even more interesting, the bird had already been ringed, but we still don’t know what’s the origin. All of us did agree a nest-box in Gotland was a good guess.
By the way, the bird was not specially intriguing. We aged it as a 2nd cy based on primary and primary coverts color and wear. The white on the bases of the primaries extended to p5, but p4 also showed a whitish area. With the closed wing, the white was well visible since it was much more extensive than the length of the primary coverts. The pattern of the tertials was very nice, with the large part of the white edge elongated to the tip of the feather, not giving the stepped impression typical from Pied. I find this feature really hard to assess from photos of a bird in the field and it’s always interesting in that sense to refresh your mind while studying and in-hand bird. After a proper analyse of the characters, it was time to relax and enjoy the pattern of the nape feathers. The white line under the grey tip is almost completely hidden, but it’s probably what gives the impression of a collar in a female Collared.
It was then when Jonas decided to leave. What in the beginning seemed a responsible decision of a responsible family man, turned out to be a mistake. Fortunately, nothing that could not be sorted out! 1 hour later, Jonas came back because we had caught an Eastern Subalpine warbler. The bird looked perfect for an Eastern, but it made things even easier when we released and it decided to call. You can hear a recording by Stephen already at xeno-canto.
To end with the eastern bonanza, a nice walk around our house produced 2 red-breasted flycatchers. I never get tired of seeing them.
Not happy with that, today we caught an almost perfect Siberian chiffchaff. Buffish tones in the cheeks, complete eye-ring (cream in the upper part), grey back, white undertail coverts and underparts, green fringes in flight feathers, some yellow feathers restricted to the underwing… perfect. The only crappy thing is the extension of the pale basis of the bill. Maybe it’s too extensive, but the shape (slightly curved in the tip of the upper mandible) also points to Siberian. As a gift for our handling skills (despite we took quite a lot of measurements…) the bird subtly called as a Siberian. I say “subtly” and it actually was, but Stephen managed to record it. However, I would not be the spoiler.