Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A morning at 'El Hondo' - postscript

As I mentioned in my last post, there were doubts over the identification of the 'Spotted' Eagle seen at El Hondo, so I contacted the other observer who had posted his sighting in 'Reservoirbirds' (JuanMa Pérez García).  It seemed that we had seen the same bird, and he had also taken some photos of it, plus a short video.  I sent him the photos I had, and he sent them all to an expert in Poland, Jan Lontkowski, who has a lot of experience with both species.

He replied:

"Upper wing is good for LSE. Underwing with double comas and blackish secondaries also indicate to LSE. The shape and size of bill is slender and typical LSE-type. We cannot see any barring on flight feathers. This is the 2cy bird and it can be still pretty dark. Contrast between dark body and paler upper-wings is diagnostic for LSE – its so called ‘dark saddle’."

"On the video" (here referring to JuanMa's video, but something I had noticed in the 'scope) "you can see the narrow white rump patch which is not good for most hybrids (and GSE, of course). There is also visible on inner primaries that barring is reaching almost very end of the feathers which exclude GSE and most hybrids, as well. So, again there is nothing for Greater Spotted Eagle and nothing against Lesser Spotted Eagle. On the other hand, though, I always say that every bird can be a hybrid, especially when all the details are seen not very well.  Anyway, in my opinion everything seen indicates 2cy Lesser Spotted Eagle."
So anyone who is up at El Hondo this winter - be aware - that 'Spotted Eagle' could just as easily be a 'Lesser' as a 'Greater'!

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