|Picture taken July 4th '06|
and this is how he arrives... [there is another picture here from March of this year]
And then he and the female bounce around a bit in their courtship... lots of "ball bearings" being heard... and then the male seems to go invisible... still hearing the "ball bearings"... but we seem to have two females chasing each other around. And one "female" feeding the other that is begging... typical courtship behaviour... so one female must be a 1st summer male. [According to the book]
We've noticed this occurrence now for two years running... either we are very unfortunate and have lost the mature male twice, or something else is going on.
But, do the books always get it right? These are just my thoughts...
Does the male have his main moult at the end of summer, just before migration... which makes sense as it gives the bird new feathers just before the long flight... and a moult of the worn primaries just after mating. And it would make sense for two reasons... firstly, he renews his feathers just before he has to do a lot of hunting... and secondly, he can get into a plumage that makes him less obvious!
I ask this because we find the black wing primaries up in the longère's grenier... a reasonably safe place to "undress"! With a food supply on hand amongst the beams, too.
In which case, the female may well have a moult whilst she is sitting and being fed by the male... it makes evolutionary sense... she wouldn't waste energy moulting before, as all her spare energy is going into the eggs. But, as she remains the same colour all year, we can't really tell.
The Black Redstart is a 'short distance' migrant... like the Robin... if we see them here in winter, they won't be 'our' Black Redstarts. Ours are probably in Spain... but no further south than Morocco or Algieria.
And, whilst mentioning migration, which is now in full swing, we have a very colourful visitor at the moment.... just passing through on the way to Africa... a male Redstart [Phoenicurus phoenicurus] Rougequeue á front blanc.
Now as you can see from Pauline's picture here... he is glorious!
|You can clearly see the rusty-red breast and the white forehead that identify him as a male Redstart.|
But, on another tack.... is the male Black Redstart also like the Robin in that he can have a number of wives? But that wouldn't explain the begging behaviour... this though is what birdWATCHING is all about... observations and records... followed by ponder and discuss!
The book: Collins Bird Guide [Le Guide Ornitho] Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom & Grant