June 8, 2007

early JUN 2007, Khovd - A. Braunlich

7 June: This morning 2 Greenish Warblers were singing in the plantations. I couldn’t find them in the dense foliage of the trees and bushes, so I have got no idea what they looked like. However, the song sounded like the typical song of the subspecies Phylloscopus trochiloides viridanus which occurs from central and eastern Europe to north-western Mongolia. Some authors state that Greenish Warblers in Mongolia are intermediate between P. t. viridanus and P. (t.) plumbeitarsus. Other authors state that P. (t.) plumbeitarsus shows clinal variation, with the western populations being similar to P. t. viridanus, while there is also the opinion that breeding Greenish Warblers in the Altai (including Mongolia) represent a distinct taxon, “P. t. tenuirostris” – which is currently not recognized by all major ornithological works on the subject. I have seen about 20 Greenish Warblers on spring migration here in Khovd last year – and they all looked basically like the birds I know from Europe (i.e. like viridanus). The Two-barred Warbler P. (t.) plumbeitasus which I have seen a few days ago here in Khovd showed the typical features for this (sub)species (treated as specifically distinct from Greenish Warbler in several publications, including in the Handbook of the Birds of the World): broad and long whitish greater coverts wing bar, conspicuous median coverts wing bar, upperparts a shade greener and brighter than in Greenish Warbler, and a well pronounced facial pattern (distinct dark eye-stripe, yellowish-tinged supercilium).

Greenish Warbler with single weak wingbar, Khovd, 1 June 2006.
Photo taken in the evening with the sun low over the horizon, thus
the plumage coloration appears rather brown. Photo © A. Braunlich

Very early in the morning 1 pair of Eurasian Golden Orioles was flying off the poplars, gaining high and apparently actively migrating south-west along the river valley – I could follow them for several kilometers with my binoculars until I lost sight of them. This is species no. 206 – if Two-barred Warbler is considered a distinct species – in Khovd since October 2005.

Apparently actively migrating Eurasian Golden Oriole.
Photo © A. Braunlich

Generally, passage migrants are becoming scarce by now, with only 1 Dusky Warbler spotted today. Several calling Common Cuckoos in the poplar plantations are quite likely local breeders, as were 4 Demoiselle Cranes near the river. Other observations today include 1 singing Common Linnet and 1 singing Great Tit (the first observation for the latter species since several weeks now).

I like Black-eared Kites very much, so here’s another.
Photo © A. Braunlich

4 June: Just another very windy day (and hot!). This spring is very dry here, and the strong winds last unusually long towards summer. The only notable observations today were 1 Brown Shrike and 1 Steppe Buzzard (both migrants).

3 June: A single Eurasian Spoonbill foraged in the small ponds at the edge of town, which are drying out very fast now. Late migrants in trees nearby were 2 Olive-backed Pipits and 10 Hume’s Leaf Warblers.

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