Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Young & Black

A November garden tick yesterday was this 1st-winter female Blackcap that spent a little while late morning zapping around the Birch and Sycamore whilst I did dishes and other exciting things inside with the kids. No children were left alone (for long) in the capturing of these images.


Blackcap, 1st-winter female.


6 comments:

Stewart said...

Nice Alan, how did you age it? It takes good views or shots...

Alan Tilmouth said...

It spent a good bit of time out in the open, as you say it is difficult to be absolute about them unless in the hand but I thought

a)iris colour was very dark no reddish tones to my eyes.
b)underparts were distinctly warm buffy with creamy tinge less grey.
c)ear coverts showing a good contrast olive brown with hint of slightly paler 'supercilium' above.

Stewart said...

Alan the main way is tail feather shape. Look with a scope when they are feeding, on say, a fat ball, at individual tail feathers. FWs have a pointed tip while adults are rounded. This makes the tail look very serrated ( zig zagged) on young birds. Those features you mention are new to me, its not ones we used in the hand. It was always the tail and sometimes contrast in the greater coverts, but this was very difficult to see. I'll try and remember the ones you used...

Stewart said...

I think I can see one pointed feather in your bottom image. Do you have any that show more of the tail from below?

Alan Tilmouth said...

Shirihai's 'Sylvia Warblers' ID guide has been a revelation to me and I think others. I'm convinced that it is responsible for the sudden increase in 'Central Asian' Lesser Whitethroat records for example.
Sorry no other images I watched it through the scope from the conservatory but as soon as I dashed out with the camera it did one.

Newton Stringer said...

Shape of TF is important. Males can show contrasting unmoulted GCs but its subtle, and its often difficult to see in females... and that’s in the hand….In the field it must be almost impossible !

Those other features are new to me too ! I guess I need to read my sylvia warblers book more often !

last time I opened it I spent an evening reading up about halimodendri lesserthroats, it gave me a right headache !