Friday 21 August 2015

Besor update

BCB numbers climbed to 33 as of last Thursday.

A very fine male Red-backed Shrike made an appearance but didn't stay for a photo-op. On the subject of shrikes, I was trying to type this very pale individual of what I naively assumed was a Southern Grey Shrike,

and found that this young bird is a Desert Grey Shrike, not a Southern Grey Shrike. The Southern Grey complex commonly found here can be subdivided into elegans and aucheri - genetically distinct, separate clades. Long story short, look at the cladogram below

CSNA schema
Olssen et al.,  2010. The Lanius excubitor (Aves, Passeriformes) condumdrum: taxonomic dilemma when molecular and non-molecular data tell different stories. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 55:2 347-357.

and also see for a discussion of the data. So, what used to be the Southern Grey found in the north (mostly aucheri) is an Asian Grey and the southern elegans is Desert Grey. How did I miss this?

An adult elegans.

Otherwise, the rapidly shrinking reservoir held a dozen Whiskered and White-winged Terns, the purple Swamphens

and increasing numbers of Kingfishers.

On the way home this Short-toed Eagle (common around here) allowed a reasonably close approach.

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