Friday, 13 February 2015

Female Pallid and Montagu's Harriers

Pallid Harrier - female (2nd cy?), 1st Sept. Axillary pattern with spots against dark brown like Hen Harrier, no trailing edge to inner primaries and more dark than light in the secondaries. 

A lot of white below eye on this individual and a fairly indistinct collar.

More compact body than Monty's with broader wings and comparatively shorter and more pointed hand.  

I wonder if the inner third secondary in both wings is a brown juvenile feather? It might explain the buff wash to the underwings and underparts and rich buff breast band. Primaries are full grown but look very fresh. Iris is still dark. 

Montagu's Harrier - female. Nice dark trailing edge to whole wing and broad pale bar in secondaries. The outer 3-4 primaries are worn presumably due to the moult being suspended for autumn migration. Nice pale eye indicating a full adult.

Streaking to underparts evenly distributed unlike the heavy breast streaking found on typical Pallid

Pallid Harrier - female. A very distant bird showing dark secondaries and very pale underside with limited streaking to underparts. Axillaries are just dark streaks from this distance.

Pallid Harrier - adult female passing Station one. 

Dark secondaries, no trailing edge to inner primaries, distinct pale collar and heavy streaking confined to breast. 

Montagu's Harrier - female. Broad trailing edge to whole wing and broad pale bar along secondaries. Streaking not confined to breast as in typical female Pallid.

Montagu's Harrier - adult female. Distinct trailing edge to whole wing and broad pale bars in secondaries. 

Pallid Harrier - bird was very high but compact body, broad wings and narrow hand typical of Pallid as is the lack of a trailing edge to inner primaries. At first glance thought it was a juvenile but underbody is very pale in parts with clear visible streaking. 

Axillaries fairly bland  with indistinct pale spots to edges of feathers. Inner secondaries appear brown and could be juvenile feathers which would point to it being a 2nd cy female. This might explain the rich buff wash to the whole underside. The bases to the outer secondaries appear darker than many female Pallid's.

Female Mon/Pall - 8 Sept. A very high bird and almost missed. Brown outer three primaries may indicate a 2nd cy. The secondaries are very dark with no pale lines visible (juvenile like?) No trailing edge to inner primaries as Pallid. Very pale underparts with streaking confined to breast as Pallid. 

Pallid Harrier? - young female. The lack of trailing edge to inner primaries, broad trailing edge and central band to secondaries, distinct collar bordered by dark cheek patch and heavy breast streaking clearly point to a Pallid Harrier. Compact body, broad wings and narrow hand also.

The only thing that seemed less typical to me was the axillary pattern. The pale squares appeared big and obvious in some of the feathers although still not creating the coarsely barred middle wing panel of Monty's.