Thursday, 4 April 2013

Black Redstart on Great Orme today - gibraltariensis vs aterrimus

A fine male Black Redstart was on the Great orme this morning. It first showed at point blank range on the wall by the hawthorns but unfortunately flushed when it saw me and flew to the boulders in the sheep field. Although distant it could be seen hopping around this area. Our variation of Black redstart is called Phoenicurus ochruros ssp. gibraltariensis the males of which show a sooty black cao, back and lower belly. Last week I was struck by how different the Iberian sub-species looked Phoenicurus ochruros ssp. aterrimus; it was jet black in comparison, especially on the back and lower belly.

Two bad pictures I know but the difference can be seen below. The Portuguese bird was taken last week at Europes most south-westerly point, Cape St. Vincent, while the second photo shows a Great Orme bird taken in the last week of March, 2012.

There's also a female Black redstart on the Orme at the moment above the Gun-site, while 6 Northern Wheateasr and 5 Sandwich terns were the only other birds of note this morning.

 Phoenicurus ochruros ssp. aterrimus - Cape st. Vincent, Portugal March 2013
Phoenicurus ochruros ssp. gibraltariensis - Great Orme , March 2012

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