Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week ending 19th September - IRRI

With the weather drying up this was an interesting week at IRRI. A flock of 20+ Black-winged Stilts on Wednesday 15th were the first of their species this autumn, considerably later than the last 2 years. At least 2 of the birds stayed through to the end of the week. On the 16th they were joined by the first Common Kingfisher of autumn, a similar date to last year, and the Plaintive Cuckoo on the 19th was also very close to last year's date, the only other record of this species at IRRI. Probably it is a scarce passage migrant.

Apart from this the numbers of all migrants are building steadily. Snipe spp. are now almost everywhere on the farms, and Brown Shrikes are ubiquitous. Yellow Wagtail numbers fluctuate somewhat as groups of birds pass through without staying for long. At the moment many are first years, with a few adults. We supposedly get two races, tschutschensis and taivana, but not many birds can be identified that accurately unless they're in full breeding plumage. At the moment I think we have mainly taivana (green crown and nape). I'll try and get photographs of both. The Brown Shrikes are all of race lucionensis so far.

A White-breasted Watehen hatchling was the only breeding behaviour recorded.

Yellow Wagtail Possibly an adult female taivana. The crown and nape seem to show no sign of any grey, being mainly green, and the ear-coverts are greenish brown (brownish-grey crown, and dark grey ear coverts in tschutschensis). The supercilium is clearly white however, not the pale yellow I'd expect.

Brown Shrike The pale grey crown and greyish upperparts make this a lucionensis. The fine vermiculations on the flanks show it is an adult female.

Brown Shrike Adult male lucionensis.

White-breasted Waterhen hatchling

Black-winged Stilt

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