David Gifford Photography

Greenland Wheatear

A remarkable migrant, which was a common sight in Fair Isle whilst I was there, is the Greenland sub-species of Wheatear. Greenland Wheatears (leucorhoa) tend to be larger than the Wheatears which breed in Shetland. Birds trapped and examined at the Bird Obs were weighed at 40g, which is roughly twice the average weight of Fair Isle's breeding Wheatears. It's still an amazingly light weight when you consider the huge distances these birds are flying over the sea: south from Greenland and Iceland, through Britain, Spain and over the Mediterrarian, before spending the winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

Image #660