We enjoyed getting soaked on the way to Tresco so much yesterday we did it again today to get to St Agnes. Seahorse bore us safely across and - in a now familiar pattern - Claire and the boys headed for the beach while I headed off for the birds. Fortunately on this occasion, they were in the same place, Periglis, where a possible eastern race Lesser Whitethroat was hanging out on the rocks and sand. Pining for the desert, perhaps? Or just knackered and staying out of the wind? The bird, carrying a large tick, was sitting still when I arrived looking a bit unwell, but was soon hopping around (and eventually towards) me within a few feet. At times it looked quite spritely, but it is difficult to say whether its apparent fearlessless was a result of tiredness, or could be taken as evidence that it wasn't one of 'our' normally shy Lesser Whitethroats.
My field guide identifies a paler, sandier brown mantle and more white in the tail as differentiating features of halimodendri - or Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat to give it its catchy name. Judge for yourself from these pictures, but to my untrained eyes in the field, the relative lack of contrast between the brown upperparts and grey head was the most notable feature of this bird. What do I know, but it was certainly easier to photograph than any other Lesser Whitethroat I've ever seen!
8 months ago