Monday, 22 December 2014

Old Jack

Yesterday Ben and I had a look through some Jackdaw and Rook in the fields between Welney and Littleport .  We found a Jackdaw with a pale collar and noticeably contrasting grey neck and ear coverts that used to be considered good candidates for "Nordic" Jackdaws, those breeding in southern Scandanavia and eastwards with increasingly obvious pale collars and grey diffused chests and cheeks.  We had quite a conversation about this bird and the changing culture in identifying (or not) these eastern Jackdaws.  It seems that conventional wisdom, perhaps after some very non-committal articles in the magazines, says it is not safe to use these clinal variations in suggesting the origin of Jackdaws with white neck markings etc. 

In 2012, in Soham, I regularly observed a pale collared Jackdaw that wintered but remained into May and appeared paired with an un-collared western Jackdaw.  So my own experience does support the idea that you can't be very confident about these birds.  However, to brighten up a dull day, I do keep looking through winter corvids and do see quite a lot of these Jackdaws with neck collars.  The "Nordic" Jackdaws, monedula, intergrade to the east with "Russian" Jackdaw, soemmerringii, which typically show darker bellies and throats. 

The old paper from Dutch Birding 2003 is here

Below is some footage, from my Stuntney garden back in 2010, of what I still like to think is an Jackdaw from the east.  Keep your eyes peeled they're a good bit of winter fun.