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    Televue Delos vs. Baader Morpheus astro eyepieces on spotting scope

    Hi Chris - thanks for this useful info, I'm thinking of trying a DeLite combined with a Pentax 65EL scope. Do you have any advice on which eyepieces in the range are workable. I've done the maths that tells me that the 15mm is about 26x with this scope, but is there much point in using an 11mm...
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    Darwin Finches

    Rapid Evolution or Sisyphean Evolution Quite interesting in the context of the new paper: Lamichhaney, S., Han, F., Webster, M. T., Andersson, L., Grant, B. R., & Grant, P. R. (2017). Rapid hybrid speciation in Darwin’s finches. Science 358. DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4593
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    TiF – where are you?

    I don't know if John ever reads this, but I'm certainly grateful for his efforts - it's a wonderful resource!
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    Barbary / Peregrine Falcons

    Having seen the whole text - some interesting things in the cytB trees: The cytB tree has brookei as basal to the other peregrines (including barbary), but brookei commonly hybridises with these other races (I think this is in the text, but my German is poor). In that context, I wonder if...
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    Barbary / Peregrine Falcons

    The abstract only mentions brookei - is there some mention of pelegrinoides in the main text (which I can't access)?
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    Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

    Andrea - it's not every day that someone discovers an unequivocal new species in Western Europe so excuse any over-enthusiasm! Anyway if balearica and tyrrhenica are conspecific, there is a case for having a unique name to describe the whole species. For example, if you refer to a bird (say a...
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    Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

    The case for splitting tyrrhenica (including balearica) as a new species distinct from striata is based on genetic divergence, different call and different appearance - taken together, this all looks pretty watertight. But, the case for splitting tyrrhenica from balearica is based on what...
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    Automolus foliage-gleaners

    " 'difficult' eastern European names" are hardly the problem. The problem with (unrelated example) Przevalski's Parrotbill* is not pronunciation but actually finding one. (*and "Rusty-throated Parrotbill" just sounds boring) So I'd definitely vote for Taczanowski, especially now I've been told...
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    Strigiformes: barcoding

    "Maybe I'm missing some detail". I can't see that you have! It looks like a slam-dunk for Eastern Barn Owl (T. javanica). The Tyto rosenbergi sequence is a bit intriguing though - and the plate in HBW looks distubingly like a Barn Owl. I'm not sure how many species points it would rack up on...
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    Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

    Well, if the the Germans can manage to say Tyrrhenischer grauer Fliegenfänger, who are we to complain about Tyrrhenian Fylycatcher? Mediterranean Flycatcher probably makes more sense for both forms, but note that it will be abbreviated to med fly - causing some panic among fruit growers.
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    Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

    Does anyone know where the type specimen of tyrrhenica was obtained? If (for example) it was first described in Sardinia, why not go with Sardinian Flycather, which has the added advantage of being easily to spell and pronounce.
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    Strigiformes: barcoding

    Niels I hadn't seen that post before - but found this clip http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/rats-lord-howes-owls-may-be-sent-home-to-roost-20100622-yvs2.html Apparently c100 owls of 5 species (including Great Horned!) were introduced in the 1920s and the island now has c50 pairs of...
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    Strigiformes: barcoding

    Thank Laurent for taking the time to reply – yes I was referring to Nijman & Aliabadian 2013. From your COX1 tree it seems that south asian and australian Tyto alba group together (contra the arrangement in HBW-alive) and that eastern Barn Owl is closer to to furcata than european alba. The...
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    Strigiformes: barcoding

    Interesting paper, but leaves a lot to the imagination: They mention >3% divergence within Aegolius funereus, Asio flammeus, Strix nebulosa and Megascops kennicotti, but I can't see which of their subspecies are most divergent (supplementary data?). The Tyto furcata - T. alba divergence...
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    Omani Owl

    "Remember that it can always be worse" Hume's Tawny Owl and The Bird Formerly Known as Hume's Tawny Owl?
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    Omani Owl

    In a way it's been much more interesting than finding a new species (but I sort of agree). Anyway, we can all live with the new names - at least we don't have Desert Hume's Owl and Omani Hume's Owl (the Bonelli's solution).
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    Omani Owl

    Amazing discovery, and also nice to see Kirwan et al validated! Why not use "Hume's Owl" for the eastern birds (as they are congruent with the type specimen) and simply recognise the western species hadorami as a split from butleri. This seems to be the simplest reflection of what has actually...
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    Omani Owl

    good review, one interesting point: "the evidence presented remains indicative of potential splits, but many of the biological situations remain in flux or under-studied. For example, the authors’ summary of the genetic data supporting a split of western European Little Owls from the ‘Cucumiau’...
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    Greater Sage Grouse

    The original (2000) paper mentioned "frequency differences of shared mitochondrial haplotypes and shared microsatellite alleles", which is the the sort of thing found when comparing different crop cultivars or between different groups of humans. This latest study is better in that it...
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    Omani Owl

    "we use the names Hume's Owl and Strix butleri according to their December 2014 meaning" Hi Richard. So, am I right in thinking that they criticize Kirwan's methodology (218bp sequence, etc) but offer no DNA sequence to support their own position.
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