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Old Wednesday 6th December 2017, 21:44   #1
SteveAtkinson
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Eleonora's Falcon Arles Camargue France in December

Has anyone seen an Eleonora's Falcon this late in this region? I was driving near Arles and I saw what could only be an Eleonora's Falcon on power lines. This was 4th December and I can only find one reference in the literature to one being around that late and that was a young one and in northern Italy. It could only have been a Eleonora's as they are so distinctive but the late date is making me question myself.
Any info will be much appreciated.

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Old Wednesday 6th December 2017, 21:50   #2
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What colour phase/age was it?

Presumably rarely kept in captivity ...
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Old Wednesday 6th December 2017, 23:00   #3
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I’ve checked on faune-paca.org and the latest sighting in that area was 8 September, the last sighting in the whole south-east was near Nice on 1 October.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 06:55   #4
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It was a dark phase but I couldn't age it as it was viewed from a moving car, so I only had a few seconds. I've never seen one before but it was fairly small (but bigger than a Hobby) with very obviously long wings and tail. From a distance it looked almost black. I can't think what else it could be and would be certain it was an Eleonora's if it was earlier in the season.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 07:26   #5
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Thanks for the info Richard. Any more from anyone will be most welcome.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 12:24   #6
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It might be worth establishing if an Eleonora's has ever been seen to perch on a power line; some falcons love it, Red Foots, both kestrels etc but i've never seen a Hobby or Peregrine do it for example.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 12:31   #7
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It might be worth establishing if an Eleonora's has ever been seen to perch on a power line; some falcons love it, Red Foots, both kestrels etc but i've never seen a Hobby or Peregrine do it for example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6ep59YB5K8
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 12:35   #8
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It was a dark phase but I couldn't age it as it was viewed from a moving car, so I only had a few seconds. I've never seen one before but it was fairly small (but bigger than a Hobby) with very obviously long wings and tail. From a distance it looked almost black. I can't think what else it could be and would be certain it was an Eleonora's if it was earlier in the season.
Either dark form or morph would be the correct terms to use, 'phase' is a transitional, temporary state as has been discussed many times across BF.

Before anyone makes accusations of 'pedantry', is it so hard to use the right term?


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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 12:59   #9
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Not wishing to go off topic but is this really true? I see no implication that phase is a temporary state any more than morph is permanent.
From wiki : Color phase, in biology, a group of individuals within a species with a particular coloration

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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 13:06   #10
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I've gone through records back to 2011 Steve and the last individuals seen are usually in the first 10 days of October (with one very late one on 23rd October one year). So without a photo, Eleonora's here in December would not get accepted I'm afraid. I trawled through all the photos on Faune-PACA and found a handful where they're perched on rocks or in trees but none on wires.
Looks like it'll have to be "the one that got away" -I've had my share of those too (see attached mystery falcon from a few years back)!!
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 13:13   #11
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Not wishing to go off topic but is this really true? I see no implication that phase is a temporary state any more than morph is permanent.
From wiki : Color phase, in biology, a group of individuals within a species with a particular coloration

Rob
Phase

'a distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of something's development'

There are no birds AFAIK, that as adults, change colour, they do have forms or morphs but they are what they are and don't change so therefore are not 'phases'.

You never heard a parent being told that their child is just 'going through a phase' indicating a non permanant condition?

Apologies for the tangent but despite this having been covered previously, people insist on using 'phase'?


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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 13:19   #12
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ZOOLOGY
a genetic or seasonal variety of an animal's coloration.

The former would not involve change.

Rob

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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 13:26   #13
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ZOOLOGY
a genetic or seasonal variety of an animal's coloration.

The former would not involve change.

Rob
I find this

'a variation in the normal form of an animal, esp a colour variation, brought about by seasonal or geographical change

Implying a non permanent condition to me and rather than phase, any genetic variation outside of the regular 'forms' would abberent?

To apply the word phase to a permanent condition, has to be wrong despite wiki and birders will refer to any species which appears to be outside of the recognised 'forms' as abberent?


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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 13:29   #14
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I think it can be a stable form. Certainly that is how it used in my line of work.
Genuinely curious here, as everyone still uses it for skuas.

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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 18:27   #15
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I think it can be a stable form. Certainly that is how it used in my line of work.
Genuinely curious here, as everyone still uses it for skuas.

Rob
People are just going through a phase.

But Andy wants to phase it out.

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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 18:39   #16
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I've gone through records back to 2011 Steve and the last individuals seen are usually in the first 10 days of October (with one very late one on 23rd October one year). So without a photo, Eleonora's here in December would not get accepted I'm afraid. I trawled through all the photos on Faune-PACA and found a handful where they're perched on rocks or in trees but none on wires.
Looks like it'll have to be "the one that got away" -I've had my share of those too (see attached mystery falcon from a few years back)!!
Thank you so much Richard, really appreciate you looking through the records. I think you're right, it is one of the ones that got away. It's a shame I was in a car on the autoroute at the time and so couldn't get a photo - that's birding for you.

All the best

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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 19:09   #17
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Thank you so much Richard, really appreciate you looking through the records. I think you're right, it is one of the ones that got away. It's a shame I was in a car on the autoroute at the time and so couldn't get a photo - that's birding for you.

All the best

Steve
Wouldn't Hobby be equally likely / unlikely?


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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 19:17   #18
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Wouldn't Hobby be equally likely / unlikely?


A
And don't forget melanistic Kestrel: https://books.google.pt/books?id=aKz...estrel&f=false

Incidentally it's only now I realize Keith Vinicombe's groundbreaking ID book has a fully 'new' edition, with fully redrawn plates... interesting.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 20:13   #19
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Wouldn't Hobby be equally likely / unlikely?


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It definitely wasn't a Hobby, I'm very familiar with them.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 20:15   #20
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BTW Richard, where did you look for your records? I'm not familiar with French birding online sites. I'll be returning to the area again and it would be useful to see what's about.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 21:05   #21
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It definitely wasn't a Hobby, I'm very familiar with them.
With respect, not sure it would be so easy on a fleeting view but I've admittedly never seen Eleonora's?


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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 21:18   #22
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With respect, not sure it would be so easy on a fleeting view but I've admittedly never seen Eleonora's?


A
If we're talking about a dark morph it's difficult to make any confusion with Hobby...
However I think if you got an impression of a small falcon is not very good for Eleonora's. In my experience they (females probably) can be larger than male Peregrines.
In the very late migrants theme, I found a Pallid Swift over Lisbon last monday (4th Dec), to my best knowledge the second December record for Portugal (first was also mine, about 15 years ago). So who knows what might still be around...
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 21:24   #23
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With respect, not sure it would be so easy on a fleeting view but I've admittedly never seen Eleonora's?
Don't forget it was a dark p***e bird ( ), so a dark chocolate brown as opposed to a Hobby which doesn't generally have a dark side there ...


But presumably many dark falconers's birds/hybrids can't really be excluded ...
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 22:22   #24
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I think it can be a stable form. Certainly that is how it used in my line of work.
Genuinely curious here, as everyone still uses it for skuas.

Rob
It used to be the standard term in use before 'morph' became more popular (and I largely agree with the change, because phase is arguably a less precise term).

It was used widely to refer to the permanent variations/colour forms in a wide variety of species including egrets, some raptors, skuas, cuckoos, owls (including Scops and Tawny) and probably many more.

Lars Jonsson used it widely in his publications, including in his 'Birds of Europe' as did Vinicombe, Harris & Tucker in the original Macmillan guide (not sure about the more recent re-print though?). It appears to have also been widely used in North America, and probably around the World too?

There was a BF thread on it here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=281969 in which it is stated that the origin of morph appears to have been J S Huxley (see post #4).

We birders don't generally accept new changes and developments without a bit of resistance, and for that reason I think phase will still be used widely and interchangeably with morph by many of us for a few more years to come...

So not so much wrong, but just falling out of fashion. How many of us still call them Bearded Tits for example...? I certainly do

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Old Friday 8th December 2017, 11:37   #25
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BTW Richard, where did you look for your records? I'm not familiar with French birding online sites. I'll be returning to the area again and it would be useful to see what's about.
Here you are Steve, for the PACA region (roughly from the Camargue right across to the Italian border after Nice), it's this one:
http://www.faune-paca.org/index.php?m_id=1
Going the other way (past Montpellier,Carcasonne as far as Perpignan/Spanish border) use this one:
http://www.faune-lr.org/index.php?m_id=1
Even without registering (it's free by the way) you are able to look through all the sightings (for up to the past 15 days) at different levels (common through to very rare etc) for the whole of each region or by département. Have a play with them and let me know if you get stuck or need a hand navigating around them.
Cheers,

Richard
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