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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)