Monday, 28 April 2014

First youngsters of the season

Ahead of the game: juvenile European Robin in the garden today.
I've been stuck indoors and feeling grim with a virus the last few days, so birding has been limited to the occasional glance out of the window in my small north London garden. Today I was rewarded with my first-of-season juveniles - single newly fledged Robin, Dunnock and Collared Dove.

Juvenile Dunnock - more streaky (and 'messy') on the underparts with distinct creamy tips to the greater coverts, as well as a pink bill. By midsummer youngsters are more like adults in appearance and much harder to age.
Adult Dunnock for comparison - dark billed with less streaking and only a hint of a wing-bar.
Based on BTO data, the average fledging dates for the first two species should be, respectively, 1-4 May and 9-12 May, so they are definitely ahead of the game this year. The same data is apparently unavailable for Collared Dove, but it strikes me as similarly early to be seeing a fully grown youngster in late April.

Juvenile Collared Dove: note the lack of neck ring.
All images were taken this afternoon with a Canon EOS 70D and Tamron SP 150-600mm zoom lens. I'm testing the lens for a review in the next issue of Birdwatch - more on how it performs then, but these results were pleasingly sharp and the contrast good for a relatively affordable lens of this spec.

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