I was privileged to watch one next to Ottawa, Ontario's airport the same weekend that Princess Diana died. It was a juvenile of the Eastern race. What a lovely bird to see! I saw it on the Saturday, and again Sunday morning, when others joined me there.
> Doug Hardy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Or perhaps this bird forgot to turn off his 'cruise control' returning
>> from sub-Sahara Africa, overshooting Greenland or the Canadian Arctic?
>> They seem capable of flying tremendous distances, as demonstrated by a
>> 2012 study: "...our results provide the first incontrovertible evidence
>> that a migratory songbird regularly travels between Arctic regions of
>> the Western Hemisphere and Africa. Scaled for body size, this is the one
>> of the longest round-trip migratory journeys of any bird in the world
>> and raises questions about how a bird of this size is able to
>> successfully undertake such physically demanding journeys twice each
>> year, particularly for inexperienced juveniles migrating on their own."
>> Some Upper Valley scientists (and others) have reported seeing them
>> flying /over/ the Greenland Ice Cap (3,000+ m elevation) during Spring
>> migration, one of only a few species observed to do so.
>> Whatever this WRJ bird's story, one can't help but feel humbled - even
>> honored - by his presence here!
>> Bairlein, F. and others, 2012. Cross-hemisphere migration of a 25 g
>> songbird. Biol. Lett. 8, 505--507. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.1223
>> Doug Hardy, Norwich
>> On 5/24/2014 3:35 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>>> Dave Johnston and I went up to WRJ VA hospital today to see the northern wheatear. Terrific views. What interested me, having seen many hundreds of wheatears in Europe, is that this bird is a really spectacular male of the Greenland race (leucorhoa). So, maybe this bird took a wrong turning last fall when it left the eastern arctic, wintered somewhere, I presume, in South America, and is now heading back up to its breeding area. Greenland males are noticeably larger and more brightly colored on the throat and breast than "southern" northern wheatears. Well worth seeing. By the way, the name wheatear has nothing to do with cereals or aural appendages. It is a corruption of white arse. Easy to see why.
>>> Hector Galbraith, PhD
>>> National Wildlife Federation
>>> 802 258 4836
>>> 802 222 1916 (cell)
Prescott, On K0E 1T0
"Change how you see, not how you look."