There has been some debate in Denmark concerning a putative desert lesser whitethroat. It reminds me to some extent of the tristis-chiffchaffs. Apparently they are rare in western Europe, but here on the Faroes the tristis-chiffchaffs are the “standard” phyllos from mid october onwards. The same can be said about the pale lesser whitethroats. They become the “standard” lesser whitethroats from october onwards. I’ve seen five pale lesser whitethroats this autumn including one today. But what are they? Desert lesser whitethroats? Without giving any expositions or doing exegesis on Sylvia Warblers by Shirihai et al. I’m gonna post some pics! Enjoy!
Typical ssp. curruca - 2. cy+ in spring (Hvalba, Suðuroy)
Ssp. curruca - 2. cy+ in spring, Ankara, Turkey
Prob. ssp. curruca - 11th october 2011, Svínoy. Note rather saturated colouration all over, lack of obvious white on second outermost tail feathers and grey crown.
A pale bird with sandy colours and pale crown. Sandoy, october 2011.
Sandoy oct. 2011
Two pale birds were present on the same garden on Sandoy
A poor flight-shot of one of the two birds on Sandoy, oct. 2011.
A pale bird with a pale crown - Svínoy oct. 2009
A pale bird from Viðareiði nov. 2010. Note white on second outermost tail feather possibly indicating an eastern origin.
Hm... I just think I need to get some DNA-tests... I love it when birding identification ends up in the lab...