Saturday, July 02, 2011

high contrast male Marsh Harrier

my obsession with Marsh Harrier continues and for the next 4 weeks I will be monitoring the fledging success of my local population -- even after 15 years and reading Dick Forsman's book a few 100 times I still find ageing males is more complex than is often assumed -- this high contrast male I guess is 3cy from the grey tail and the highly contrasted underwing pattern but the iris is still very dull, even compared to a lot of 2cy males, and the upperwing is also very similar to most 2cy males with the exception of the new inner primaries that look much older, ie a brighter silvery grey with black marks so is it 3cy or an advanced 2cy or even a 4cy (the latter seems very unlikely) -- it also seems that some birds are much brighter / more contrasting than others of the same age and this may even extend into adult plumages -- the inner primary moult also seems a bit odd on this bird as the males usually do not start their moult until late August or September when the young have fledged as the males tend to attend the broods even when the females have left -- I have also never actually seen a bird yawn like this male does  on a frequent basis?

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