UPDATE: The result of the genetic analysis confirms what we had always thought - that this was a Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat somewhere on the blythi—halimodendri spectrum and based on cytokrom b the bird falls into the blythi clade as defined in the recent paper by Olsson et al (2013).
On Saturday the 20 October 2012 I found a Lesser Whitethroat which was seen briefly in the garden at Fyrgården near Totten on the easternmost tip of the island Anholt. It was striking and called for immediate attention due to its short primary projection; fine and short bill; warm underparts suffused with peachy-buff and less contrasting against the upperparts compared to a typical curruca; and sandy brown upperparts with a warm hue extending onto the head.
The sun was about to set, so my mist-net in the garden were opened right away and by the use of playback the bird was easily caught within 20 minutes. I immediately checked the wing-formula and noticed a very rounded wing, with a short P2 falling almost even with P8 and P3-P4-P5 of equal length and creating the wing tip. As the sun had just gone down during the netting process, the bird was taken to the house for carefully examination and ringed (9R 88 331) before it was left for the night in a bag. At first daylight the following day the bird was released in the garden from where it quickly moved on to never be seen again.
As the identification of vagrant Lesser Whitethroat in Europe is highly complex a small blood sample and an outermost tail-feather, a central secondary and a few coverts were sampled for genetic analysis.
|Throat white, breast dull buffish-white, sides of breast and flanks pinkish-buff.|
|Mantle and rump rather pale sand-brown with a slight reddish tone. Hind-crown grey admixed with the same colour as the mantle. Legs dark blue-grey.|
|P3-P4-P5 create wingtip|
|Short primary projection with only six primaries visible beyond longest tertial.|
|The bird was aged as a first-year. It had a moult limit between five outer juvenile greater coverts with warm sand-coloured fringes and five inner, which were longer, less worn, darker brown and with less distinct pale fringes.|
|Biometrics: Wing: 64.0 mm; Tail: 58.2 mm; Tail/wing ratio (x100): 90.9; Bill to skull: 12.2 mm.|
|P2 fall between pp 7 & 8 and almost completely on level with p8.|
|Emarginated pp 3, 4 & 5.|
|Tail (from above): Dark grey except for the central pair, which was brownish. The outermost tail-feathers had a juvenile pattern. The second outermost tail-feathers were only narrowly fringed white.|
|Under tail-coverts white with a faint buff tone.|