3 Jun 2022

3 Jun 22 - #30DaysWild Day 3 - Greenland Wheatears

Dorset Birding is typically quiet for Spring migrant Passerines by late May, except for maybe a late Spotted Flycatcher or Reed Warbler. It is even quieter in June. But it is still worth getting out in case a goodie has appeared. I must admit that I was expecting to be focusing on breeding species & Butterflies on the St Aldhelms patch today. I caught a patch of white as something dived off a close wall out of the corner of my eye, but wasn't sure what it was. Looking over the wall, there were two Wheatears perched on a nearby bush. As I waiting they both dropped down to a bare patch in the field edge. The size, bulk, long legs & upright stance of the male looked good for it to be a Greenland Wheatear. In the field, I was less certain about the female, but she too looked big, bulky, long-legged and on one occasion had a good upright stance, but also adopted a more horizontal stance. But after comparing the photos, then this looks like a second Greenland Wheatear.

Greenland Wheatears are the leucorhoa subspecies which breeds in NE Canada, Greenland and Iceland and winters in West Africa. The nominate race of Wheatear, which is the one we are most likely to see in the UK, breeds in the British Isles to the Mediterranean, and East to Siberia, Alaska, and NW Canada (Yukon) and winters in Central Africa.
Greenland Wheatear: Male. It was a big & bulky individual with a very obvious upright stance
Greenland Wheatear: Male. It also has a long legged appearance which helps to give it the upright stance
Wheatear: Male. Good to see it has a lot of fat given it still has a lot of travelling before it gets to the breeding grounds
Wheatear: Female. It is another big & bulky and long-legged individual. Initially, it adopted an obvious upright stance, but also had a more horizontal stance. Looking at the photos, then I think it is a second Greenland Wheatear
Wheatear: Female. Again it has put on a lot of weight
Wheatear: Female. It adopted a more horizontal stance at times