Purple Sandpiper (Calidris Maritima) Skärsnäppan

  Temminik's stint (Calidris temminickii) Mosnäppa

  The Great Snipe Gallinago media

  Arctic Warbler 

 Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria albifrons

The breeding of a pair of Golden Plovers of the Northern type Mr. Swanberg's photographs taken in Swedish Lapland, in a valley south of Svaipa (latitude 66° 16'), show breeding examples of the Northern race (Pluvialis apricaria albifrons) in its most pronounced form, having in the male an intensely black face and breast bordered by a conspicuous and sharply defined band of pure white. The female shows the typically dingier face pattern of that sex. 

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria altifrons

Northern Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria altifrons). Male with newly hatched chick july 1931

Pluvialis apricaria altifrons

Northern Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria altifrons) Female July 1931.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) Juvenile on shore Morup sept. 1941.

Golden Plover

Juvenil + Golden Plover

Juvenil Pluvialis Squatarola at Ottenby Sweden. 
Note the black axillary an the more prominante bill.

   The Shore Lark Berglärka

Eremophila Alpestris

We are once again indebted to Mr. Swanberg for a series of plates, this time of the Shore - Lark (Eremophila alpestris). The pictures were all taken on a field near Svaipa in Swedish Lapland (Lat. 66°10'N.) and show very well the bare stony nature of the nesting ground. Mr. Swanberg states that on the breeding grounds the species is "astonishingly watchful and cautious" and the nest is therefore difficult to find. 

As a winter visitor to Britain the Shore - Lark has a very restricted distribution The Handbook describes it as an "annual autumn to spring visitor E coast from Yorkshire to Kent. Along S. coast occational elsewhere very rare. Over a fairly long period records would, no doubt, be found to conform generally to this picture, but over a short period such as the post - war years, it would appear that only im E Anglia has this species been a regular annual visitor. 

The fact that some wintered in north Kent in 1948 - 49 was considered an unusual event (antea, vol. xliii, p. 116). In that winter, however, they seem to have been more widespread than usual : three were recorded in, Sussex in the autumn of 1948 (Sussex Bird Report, 1948 p.6) ; a party, of eight wintered at Gibraltar Point, Lincs. (Gibraltar Point Bird Obs., 1949, p. 16) ; there were several in Northumberland including a party which reached 21 at its maximum seen on various dates from October, 1948, to April, 1949 (Orn Rep. for Northumberland and Durham 1948, P. 118 1949, p.112) and one at the Isle of May on October 30th 1948 (Scot Nat., 62: 99). In Yorkshire (Y.N. U., Committee for Ornithology 1948, P. 57, 1949, p. 8) there were several at Kilnsea Spurn, the maximum being 29 in November, 1948 ; this party winterd and some birds were beginning to display by March 19th 1949. It is to be noted that Mr. Chislett (loc. cit.) says of these records : "Authenticated records of the Shore - Lark of recent years in Yorkshire have been extremely few. I know of only three records in the past ten years." All this suggests that in certain parts of its winter range in Britain this species is a visitor only in favourable years. There is some evidence that the current winter, 1951 - 52 may be a good year. We should be interested to hear whether readers, have found it so. Inland occurrences are very rare. It was recorded in Nottinghamshire in 1945 ; a second record for the same county (Report on the Birds of Nottinghamshire, 1946 - 1949 p.11) is placed in square brackets as the bird was only heard in flight with Sky - Larks; it may be significant, however, that the date of this occurrence was January 30th, 1949. J.D.W. 

Plate 1 Hornes Lark, Shore Lark Berglärka (Eremophila Alpestris) Male after feeding the young. Svaipa, Swedish Lapland, july 4th 1942.


 Plate 2 Male on the look out near the nest. Sveipa Swedish Lapland July 4th 1942


Nest and eggs Sveipa Swedish Lapland May 23rd 1942.  Feamle brooding young in nest Sveipa Swedish Lapland July 4th 1942.

Young about to leave nest Sveipa Swedish Lapland July 9th 1944.


Lullula arborea 

Tofslärka Galerida Cristata



Tawny Pipit Fältpiplärka 

The Snow-Bunting (Plectophenax nivalis) Snösparven

As a winter visitor the Snow-Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is mainly a coastal bird. As a rule it occurs in some numbers on the north and east coasts, but in most years smaller numbers are also seen in the west and south-west, so that its winter distribution is a good deal wider than that of the Shore-Lark (Eremophila alpestris). Inland occurrences are somewhat uncommon, but in recent years several have been recorded at reservoirs and sewage farms in midland and lowland counties, including the London area. More normal winter haunts are the high moorlands of the Pennines, where they feed on the Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) and the gall-midge larvae which infest it, and the mountains of North Wales and the Lake District. Winter birds in the plumage are often quite inconspicuous on the ground, the females especially showing relatively little white, but the impression of dull coloration is soon dispelled when the birds take to flight as all show some white in the wing, males a good deal more than females. As with the Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponica) the Snow-Bunting's normal gait is a quick run.

Female Male

Snösparv Snow Buntle 


Barred Warbler Höksångaren

The male Barred Warbler is a uniform ash-grey above, the female a browner grey, both being darker and browner on the wings. All these plates give a good idea of the characteristically marked under-parts from which the bird gets its name, but plate 49 perhaps does so better than any other: the ground-colour below is whitish, but in summer both sexes are strikingly marked (except an the centre of the breast and belly) with crescent-shaped barrings, heavier and closer together on the sides of the breast, lighter on the flanks; the female is usually less distinctly marked than the male. Unfortunately, this barring is often of little use as a field-character in this country, because the majority of the birds recorded are immatures, which are more buff below and have little or no barring (except perhaps some at the sides of the breast and flanks), while the adults, by then in winter plumage, have the barring only on the sides. Another striking character of this bird, which shows up well, is the staring yellow eye, quite unlike that of any other British-recorded species except perhaps the Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis), which has a paler yellow, almost white, iris; again, however, this is of no assistance in the identification of the immature bird which has a dark greyish-brown iris. The young Orphean and the Garden Warbler (S. borin) are probably the species which the Barred Warbler most resembles, but it is much more noticeably long-tailed than either, it lacks the rounded head of both, and is at the same time generally greyer in colour and heavier in appearance, with noticeably stout legs  and bill, while pale tips to the primaries and secondaries show up in flight. The adult Barred Warbler in fresh plumage often has pale tips to the wing-coverts as well (to a very variable extent), thus forming two irregular whitish bars, but as can be seen in the worn-plumaged bird that appears in these photographs, these can easily be lost through abrasion.

The Barred Warbler is a rather skulking bird of hedges, thorns and brambles, building its nest chiefly in such places between a foot above the ground and head height. The nest is typical of the genus, a little untidily constructed of grasses and bents, lined with finer grasses, hair and rootlets. The eggs, usually five in number though the clutch varies from 3 to 6, are, however, rather characteristic, being faintly speckled with grey on a grey ground. Though the bird is usually secretive, it often delivers its not unattractive song, rather like that of the Garden Warbler though shorter and quicker, from a conspicuous perch or in a dancing, Whitethroat-like song-flight.

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955 This is the male, on his favourite song-post. Though a very skulking species, it usually delivers its song from a conspicuous perch, or in a dancing display flight rather like that of the Whitethroat (S. communis). This photograph gives a good impression of the heavy, long-tailed silhouette, with the thick legs, large feet and stout bill. (As you may understand this is not the right picture but anyway, it is on his favorite branch)

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955 The male carrying a caterpillar to the nest: the species is almost entirely insectivorous, so far as is known, except that migrants in autumn feed to a certain extent on berries; this particular pair seemed to be feeding their young entirely on caterpillars. Note again the heavy bill, the stout legs and the staring, yellow eye which is such a feature of the adult.


Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955
The male is ash-grey above, the female browner. Below, both are whitish, strikingly marked except on the centre of the breast and belly with crescent-shaped barrings, heavier and closer together on the breast, lighter on the sides and flanks: these markings can be seen in all these plates. In winter the barring is reduced and confined to the sides.

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955
The nature of the crescent-shaped barring is better shown here than in any of the others. This plate, the previous one and the next two serve to illustrate a sequence of behaviour well known to amyone who has watched small Passerines at the nest. Having fed the young, the bird looks around and then, as here, moves about the nest with a fixed stare waiting for the young to defaecate.


Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955
Another shot of the peculiarly intense stare adopted by Passerines waiting for the young to defaecate: the bird moves around the nest, pausing and watching, occasionally prodding, for anything up to half a minute. Young Barred Warblers spend between 14 and 16 days in the nest.

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Sweden June 1955
As the chick backs up to the edge of the nest, the adult snaps up the faecal sac and swallow, or flies off with it. The nest is usually in thorn or brambles, 1-6 feet above the ground, rather roughly and untidily constructed of bents and grasses, lined with finer grasses and hair, the result being typical of the genus.

In the right is illustrated another continually repeated activity of nesting Passerines - the rooting in the bottom of the nest which is presumably a search for parasites and dropped particles of food, but which also serves to loosen the nest-material and prevent it from matting.