There is no extensive moult going
on in 3cy birds during this month. The winter head streaking, which
was obvious and concentrated on the ear-coverts, around the eye and
up to the crown by September and October, has been worn away by mid
winter, leaving an almost snow-white appearance. The most prominent
streaking on the under-parts is the breast-band.
stage and pace of remiges and rectrices:
The primaries and secondaries are
all second generation now, as are the rectrices. The white tips of
the tail-feathers are worn way, half a year after they were moulted.
strategy of moult in January
Basically, the wing-coverts are at
least second generation in January. However, michahellis is a
taxon which often includes wing-coverts in the partial moult. Hence,
many birds show third or even fourth generation wing-coverts (often
in the same tracts as 1cy birds show second generation coverts; see michahellis
1cy October). Subsequently, the wing-coverts are a mix of
fresh coverts with obvious white tips and older second generation
coverts. Normally, the older coverts can be found in the carpal edge
(outer lesser coverts) and the outer greater coverts. The inner
median and inner lower lesser coverts may look more adult-like,
sometimes plain grey in 3cy michahellis in January. However,
these grey third and fourth generation feathers may still show a
delicate diffuse brown pattern.
Normally, most of the scapulars are
plain grey now. Some old barred third generation feathers may still
be visible, often in the rear row of the lowest lower scapulars
(just above the scapular coverts). See Topography
Section for explanation of feather tracts.
By April, only very few 3cy michahellis
can be found along the coasts of SW Netherlands and NW France. The
majority remains at lower latitudes. Those which are present at
Etaples (about 5-10 individuals by April 30 2003), probably belong
to michahellis from the colonies of Marseille and the
3cy, January 04 2002, Le Portel, NW France (50.44N-01.35E).
Not particularly the average michahellis, as this bird has an
injured leg and therefore may show a delayed plumage. The colour of
soft parts is still very immature.