Sunday, 1 May 2016

Pied Flycatcher, Taylor Park, St Helens

Bird of the day today, a fabulous pied flycatcher in Taylor Park in willows alongside the Rangers Centre. It was a decent enough view from outside, but then we were invited to view from the balcony and we had great views of the bird flycatching, at times it seemed like it was about to land on the balcony it came so close! As you can see from the photos, the light was quite harsh while we were watching the bird. You can see Chris McEntee's excellent photo here.

Amazingly this bird was in exactly the same bush as a male pied flycatcher in 2013.

This bird is consistantly being referred to on the bird information services as a male. Whilst it's true that some males can appear quite dull looking and very like females, in my opinion this is a female. although there are features which seem more appropriate to a male. For example, in this photo you can clearly see that it has some white on the rump. In the photos below you can also see that it has some white on the forehead. Both of these features are indicative of a male, but I don't think they are bright enough and perhaps some females can show male like features? I don't know. The main reason I'm calling it a female is that I don't think that there is a enough white in the wing for a male.

This photo adds a bit more confusion. Is that a second wing bar I can see? It's not particularly bright, but you can see it on several photos and this is a feature of semi-collared flycatcher, though apparenly a few collared flycatchers can also show this feature. Also, on most of the photos the bird appears to have grey tones, especially on the neck, which again is reminiscent of semi-collared. The grey tones are apparent on Chris McEntee's photograph but on his photo the second wing bar is missing. Also the tail pattern is not correct for semi-collared.

It's a pity this is out of focus, but I think it does show the extent of the white at the base of the secondaries quite well and perhaps even the tail pattern. Again, notice also the apparent grey nape on this and other photos, including Chris McEntees.

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