Eastern Crowned Warbler - Phylloscopus coronatus

On Friday 5 October 2007 at around 8:30 am, Casper Zuyderduyn was just leaving his house in Katwijk aan Zee, Zuid-Holland, when his attention was drawn by some bird in the trees behind his house. In his binoculars a saw a Phylloscopus with a long supercilium and a wingbar. To be on the safe side, he warned his fellow-birders in Katwijk with the message he had a Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides. When the first birders arrived and observed the bird, they changed the identification to Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis. However, they had seen the lower mandible was completely yellow and suddenly René van Rossum (who lives in Katwijk too) saw on his display of his camera yellowish undertail coverts and... a crown stripe. Now they were sure, it was an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus, the fourth record for the Western Palearctic! The bird was seen all day till late afternoon, and so everybody had the opportunity to see this bird, although it could be quite elusive when it was feeding in the canopy. I was very happy I could arrange transport quickly (thanks to on of my oldest birding pals, Alexander Buhr) and after an hour waiting, I finally had good looks of the bird, although the crown stripe was difficult to observe.

Note the strong supercilium and wingbar; crown is dark greyish; © Marc Guyt, courtesy of Agami

Note the crown stripe on the back of the head; © Marc Guyt, courtesy of Agami

Note complete yellow-orange lower mandible and citrine-yellow undertail coverts; © Marc Guyt, courtesy of Agami

It was accepted as the first record for the Netherlands (cf Dutch Birding 30: 155-158, 2008) and the fourth record for Europe (and the Western Palearctic). The first being a bird trapped at Helgoland, Germany, on 4 October 1843. The second bird was trapped and ringed at Jæren, Norway on 30 September 2002 and the third Kokkola, Harbåda, Finland on 23 October 2004 (source: Netfugl.Dk). This bird originates from far east, east of Lake Baikal, which is opening a new window of opportunities. What next?

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