Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Emma Wray Naked

I noticed I got a lot of hits during the week.
Naturally I assumed they were all from Tom Nelson's buddies taking pity on my pathetic hit rate and dropping in to make me feel better. But it turned out they were mostly related to this thread about borealis Eiders. But some of them were related to Emma Wray, co-star of Watching (see here), in particular some pervert had done a Google search for 'Emma Wray Naked'. Shame! It's like asking for naked pictures of your favourite cousin's puppy dog.

Anyway, 2007. I've been counting up and I saw 144 species on the Newtonhill patch, which fits neatly in this 3 km x 3 km square.

I arbitrarily decided in January that i would try and see an arbitrary 140 species, so I arbitrarily beat my target. hurrah! In fact it's 145 if you assume the crossbills I saw were Common Crossbills*. Highlights were my second back garden Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, the sea (period) including those Great Shearwaters, Little Auks, Long-tailed Skua, Sabine's Gulls, Mediterranean Gull and whatever else I've forgotten just this second. Notable absentees were such east coast migrant staples as Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, and still no patch Ring Ousel, which is proving a bit of a pain.

*and talking of being a bit of a pain... cop this.

Edelaar, P. 2007. Assortative mating also indicates that
common crossbill Loxia curvirostra vocal types are species.
Journal of Avian Biology (OnlineEarly Articles).

Compared to most other birds, the taxonomy of crossbills
(Loxia) is still highly unsettled. However, much progress
seems to be achievable when data on vocalisations is
included. In a recent paper, Summers et al. (2007) argued
that strong assortative mating indicated that parrot
crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus, Scottish crossbill Loxia
scotica and common crossbill Loxia curvirostra behave as
good species when breeding in sympatry. Here I argue that
their data, when placed in the context of other studies,
also indicate that three vocally differentiated European
populations within the common crossbill are species
(following the biological species concept of Mayr (1963):
species are groups of interbreeding natural populations that
are reproductively isolated from other such groups). If this
tentative conclusion remains to be upheld, it might have
large repercussions for our understanding of the speciation
process as well as for a number of more applied issues such
as the discovery and description of biodiversity and the
conversation of mobile, cryptic species.


Lindsay Cargill said...

Only 3 types of vocally differentiated Common Crossbills ? Jeez, I must be hallucinating with my eyes( and ears )then !

Happy New Year !

Mark Brown said...

My search with Google for "Pim Edelaar naked" did not turn up anything either! Does anyone else think it funny he works for Dr. Venkman?

Bill Pulliam said...

We have something like 7 (or 8?) vocal types of L. curvirostra in North America with often 2 or 3 types sympatric in any given part of the continent... it'll be sooooooooooooo much fun if they ever get split! Maybe someone will devise a way to sort them out by pointing an iPhone at them or something...

John said...

In fact, I think further study of the American populations will show that every flock represents a biologically isolated breeding population that should eventually be elevated to full species status. Thank goodness they can easily be distinguished from each other by a simple combination of flight calls, flap rates, bill depth, and seed preferences.

Of course then there are bound to be hybirds...

Alastair said...

Beggar the crossbills for the minute what's this counting of Sibe' Chiffy as a full species? BBRC have put it on their list and now this, methinks a "new" species is in the offing?

Martin said...

Sadly my total doesn't include Sibe Chiffy. Otherwise it would be 146. Subject to acceptance by whichever poor sod at BBRC is going to have to work out the field criteria for acceptable records. :-$