Thursday, April 05, 2012

23 - 25 March 2012: Kapar power station. 2. Knots

Our first evening, we managed to find seven Great Knots with leg flags in one sweep - I think that's a personal record for me!

These two, with black over green flags, were ringed in Thailand. The triangular cut of the flags reveals that they were caught on Ko Libong, off the west coast of the peninsula, rather than in the Inner Gulf area, on the east coast (where square flags are used).

Two Shanghai-flagged birds.

Number 3.

Birds 3 - 5 had distinctly yellowish 'white' flags. This led to some discussion about the actual colour of the flag. My guess is that the longer these white flags are worn, the more there is a tendency to discolour or become stained. Fortunately, no black over yellow combination exists on the flyway, which minimizes risk of confusion. Still, I know of people who have been pretty convinced they've seen birds with black over yellow flags!

I would guess this is bird 4, seen the next day.

Some smart Great Knots in breeding plumage. I love those heart-shaped flank spots!

There were about 100 Red Knots about, not all showing red plumage. The silvery-backed, peach-breasted rogersi race seemed commonest among those in breeding dress.

Not a great pic, but it does show the difference between the two races quite well. 'Piersmai' (back left) has an orange nape, rich chestnut underparts, and rather many chestnut and black scapulars. 'Rogersi' (the others) shows silvery-grey crown, nape and upperparts, with few chestnut scapulars, and the underparts are paler, more peachy. Don't be confused by the other 'non-knot' species in here - you spotted and identified that, right? (See the answer at the bottom of the post to check!).

Two 'piersmai' Red Knot among Greats. The crown is browner and warmer than in 'rogersi', and the chestnut on the face seems more extensive.

Answer: Curlew Sandpiper (head tucked in).

No comments: