Friday 17 September 2010

Hybridising hirundines?

Nothing too out of the ordinary to report lately. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was found standing in the shallows (thoughts of the Rolling Stones there...) of one of the dragonfly ponds on 3rd. We've had a few waders through: Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Ruff, Whimbrel, Curlew, Dunlin, Green Sandpipers. One of the Curlew had a horribly damaged leg, bending 180° backwards from the knee. The Whimbrel was hobbling a bit too. There's been an average passage of Wheatears, Whinchats, Spotted Flycatchers and Yellow Wagtails. A Wryneck failed to make it on to the farm by a matter of feet last weekend.

And so the rarest bird to pay us a visit this autumn dropped by this morning as I was standing by the Plantlife pond. A bunch of about 15 Swallows came down and skimmed the surface. Amongst them, flying away from me, was one with a big white rump patch. It was not a House Martin. Red-rumped Swallow flashed through my mind for about a nano-second, because as it turned, it was just a Swallow. In every respect except that rump, it looked like a bog-standard young Barn Swallow.

Off they went, gaining height and moving south, leaving me scratching my head and wondering if it was just an aberrantly plumaged Swallow or a hybrid x House Martin. I think the fact that the white patch was regularly-shaped and clearly defined makes the latter the more likely.

No comments:

Post a Comment