Many thanks for Dave Craven for waking me up this afternoon (see comments on previous blog entry) – no doubt about it, by the time I got up to Crossens Outer I was way too complacent in my treatment of this “funny” falcon out amongst the Pinks.
Yes it was a very, very long way away, but as Dave rightly suggests, “calidus” Peregrine might have rang bells in my head, rather than me dismissing this bird as yet another weirdy hybrid.
Anyway, here’s the very bad blow-ups of the bird I managed to digiscope this afternoon.
Apologies for the poor quality, these are the only images I managed, via a hand-held Lumix against my battered old Nikon ‘scope.
The head pattern isn’t that far off that of Arctic Peregrine or “calidus“, but the bird didn’t seem particularly big, and it’s underpants weren’t as pale as I would have expected.
Supercilium is obvious though.
However it certainly didn’t strike me as long-winged or long-tailed compared to normal Peregrines, but then it wasn’t more rakish or browner like a Lanner is in flight either.
Structure/size was like a male Peregrine.
Not far off, but not bang on either, although those long black moustaches are interesting.
In fact, my first “blow-up” shows a rustier set of underparts, closer to “tundrius“, the Yankee arctic Peregrine race.
It doesn’t seem to fit with a falconry hybrid, that’s for sure.
This bird is a valuable lesson in the importance of keeping your radar switched on…I won’t be dismissing falcons as hybrids on the strength of pale heads again, that’s for sure!
I’d love to know what other people think about this falcon (that’s what the Birdblog is for after all, if folk ain’t using the comments thingy, then I’m clearly not writing it right) and while the opportunity for me to nail it has passed, perhaps someone else may catch up with this bird at the marsh tomorrow and get a better view?
Good luck if you do…please let me know if you see it.
Many thanks to Dave Craven for getting me thinking, and of course to the source material of Martin Garner‘s “Challenge” series, and the great man’s amazing ability to never stop querying or questioning in the field.
I couldn’t say I had the privilege to know Martin well, but I did meet him a few times, and he was always encouraging whenever I had a daft query about races/sub-species – he’d be giggling now.
Lesson learnt guys.