Thursday, 25 May 2017

Black-headed Bunting

Pretty much the last thing I was expecting to come across on an otherwise migrant-less morning was a female Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala, but that indeed was what I found. A straightforward one this one for a change, with obvious crown streaks, patches of black scattered throughout the ear coverts, often a distinctly greyish-looking head, and liberal amounts of rufous streaking down the mantle and on the rump. Given the rather elongated-looking tertials, the primary projection varied between just three and four, leaving me with the feeling that this area might not be of much use in separating this from similar Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps.

Unfortunately, the heat was so intense this morning that there was a heat haze when the bird was on the ground. Even when close, my shots of it were so awful under these conditions that all I came away with really were shots of it on overhead wires. This was more than acceptable, though, as Black-headed Bunting is quite unexpected on my local patch at this time of year and it more than made up for the early rise! Above photos taken in Qi Gu, Tainan County 25/5/17.

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