Monday, 21 April 2014

Greenland Wheatear, probably...

19th April 2014 - South Wales

A family visit to Porthcawl gave me an opportunity for a couple of early morning walks along the beach at Kenfig. With the golf course, the new (and newly storm-wrecked) plastic boardwalk and with the Port Talbot steel works always in sight the scenery is fairly dismal at times but once on to the dunes at least there's no lack of interest.

There were a few Whimbrel and Ringed Plover on the rocks at Sker Point and a steady stream of Swallows flew north, on the sandy dunes I found a handful of White Wagtails and about 30 Wheatears formed a loose flock on the short turf behind the beach. Many, if not all, were probably of the Greenland/Arctic Canada subspecies leucorhoa. Here's a typical male; heavy bodied and long-winged with rich orange buff underparts extending all the ways to the rear flanks and vent.

Wheatear prob. leucorhoa - 19/4/2014 Kenfig

Wheatear prob. leucorhoa - 19/4/2014 Kenfig

While I realise that wing measurements would be needed to confirm identification as leucorhoa, given the date, the long wings and the rich coloured underparts, it would be perverse not to call this at least a probable Greenland Wheatear.

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