Nordic Jackdaw in Wilmslow
It’s not often this blog ventures from the security of the Mersey but Mr Broome has got something to enhance an article I did some time ago about an eastern Jackdaw at the Heath, Runcorn (see link below).
Nordic Jackdaw in Wilmslow
28.11.15. After having cooked a roast chicken dinner on Saturday, I kept the carcass and skin like I always do, so that the local corvids can get chance to squabble over the remains. On Sunday morning I threw the leftovers onto the grass verge opposite my house. Various dogs on leads had to be dragged past the spot by their mystified owners who probably wondered where a cooked chicken had appeared from.
However, it wasn’t long before the local Magpie troupe had found it and they started to pick at the pieces around the outside. Surprisingly, the six of them were booted off unceremoniously by four Black-headed Gulls that suddenly dropped in and claimed the corpse. I thought that the Magpies would have put up more of a fight but they scattered. As the bones dwindled in number, a Jackdaw dropped in to join the feast and I immediately noticed that it had obvious silvery-white patches either side of its neck. It had to be one of the eastern ones. I grabbed my camera but unfortunately I had it set for sky and had to shoot through a double-glazed window. The results weren’t brilliant.
It wasn’t a particularly dark bird underneath and there was some contrast between the black throat and the dark grey underparts which were mottled black. The black fore-crown and centre crown contrasted greatly with the pale grey ear coverts, nape and neck which terminated on the neck sides in pale silvery-white patches that almost met around the nape when the bird stretched its head up. The mantle, like the underparts, was dark grey with black blotching in neat rows, particularly on the coverts. When turned face-on the neck patches even looked white at times. The wings and tail were blackish grey, although the greater coverts, secondaries and tertials took on a metallic royal blue hue at certain angles. It was quite an attractive bird and the last thing I expected when I threw my chicken carcass onto the grass.
The race of Jackdaw that breeds in Britain, most of western Europe and Italy is Common Jackdaw (a named coined by the Dutch birders) ‘spermologus’ which is the Jackdaw you normally see around and about and the common breeder. In Scandinavia, Nordic Jackdaw,’monedula’, similar to the bird in the pictures, is the usual race and then further east into Russia is ‘soemmerringii’, Russian Jackdaw, a much darker race with generally blacker underparts, paler grey heads and whiter neck patches. In between the Russian and Scandinavian races there are integrades and similarly, between the European and Scandinavian races there intergrades. They are a complex.
This bird was very similar to the one that is discussed on the Frodsham Blog, hence the write-up.
A great article is on Martin Garners website, Birding Frontiers, and it has lots of photos and a link to the Dutch birding site. Martin’s site
A link to the Runcorn Eastern Jackdaw:
Thanks to Dave Craven and Bill Morton for commenting on the photos.