September 9th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Hey, im back with another i.d. question, i saw a flurry of activity in the garden whilst looking out of the living room window so went out to take a few snaps, and the usual blue / coal / great tits were flitting around along with a pair of nut hatches and a family of long tailed tits and a chiff chaff (or possibly a willow warbler but i wont bore you with another picture of one of those!) Then i spot this fellow and snapped a few shots. I'm going for marsh tit purley because i think they are more common in gardens, but my garden backs onto woodland with a few rivers close by so it could be either. Either way it will be a new member to add to the garden list which is nice.
September 9th, 2009, 02:41 PM
looks like it could be a marsh tit james, having a little bit of a hard time trying to see detail on the bill,did you hear it call by any chance?
see what is said by others,
if you fancy a read though this thread, which i started when i found willow tit in my garden. Got a link to a video of mine on there too.
September 9th, 2009, 02:59 PM
Thanks Michael, i have had a skim read through that thread, unfortunately i', not sure any of the photo's i took will show enough to detail to pick out features such as bill coloration, the bird was quite distant and the originals were rather noisy.
Unfortunatly i did not here it call
I have attached a few more pics in the hope they are of some use.
September 9th, 2009, 05:30 PM
From the second shot in your first post it looks good for Marsh Tit (very small "bib" and apparently glossy black cap), but without very good detailed head shots and hearing the call this is a tricky distinction to make.
September 9th, 2009, 05:36 PM
Thanks Colin, after reading a bit about these species i think it is going to be impossible to get a definite I.D without better photo's. I will see if he turns up again later in the week and try and get some better photo's (i'm thinking of setting a tent up as a hide in the garden so i can get some better shots!)
September 10th, 2009, 12:03 AM
A review of Marsh/Willow i.d. will be in BB next year, which should help with all this. Your first pic shows the 2nd best i.d. feature (after bill), which is the cheek pattern. Your bird shows a white cheek proper, and then a sharp contrast on the ear covert to a dirty grey/brown neck side. This is typical for Marsh Tit, and the best feature to look for at that sort of distance (much more reliable than wing panel). Willow don't show a sharp contrast, and any colour on the rear of the cheek patch is a warm buff, sometimes a warm 'golden collar' where it meets the wing. So Willow have large clean white cheek patches (or with subtle warm buff wash) all the way back to the nape, Marsh have small white cheek patches contrasting with dirty necks. It's as reliable an i.d. feature as you'll get for most sightings.
Colin - forget cap and bib, it's pretty useless.
The useful things to look for, in descending order of reliability and importance are: voice (chickadee call and song, though both have some overlap, juv calls totally diagnostic), presence/absence of bill marks, cheek pattern, tail feather lengths (only in the hand), and presence/absence of broad pale margins to the tertials and secondaries that contrasts strongly with the mantle. Structure, bib shape, cap gloss and flank colour may be of occasional use, but should only be used with extreme caution as minor supporting features.
If you look closely on James' 2nd and 3rd pics, you can actually see the pale bill spot. See here for photos of what you're looking for: http://blx1.bto.org/pdf/ringmigratio...broughton1.pdf (scroll to bottom)
So it's a dead cert Marsh Tit.
Last edited by mafting; September 10th, 2009 at 12:14 AM.
September 10th, 2009, 06:55 AM
my first thoughts were of Marsh Tit ~ based on glossy looking cap. It was very interesting therefore to read Mafting re the pertinent features to be looking out for and realise how things have moved on. Previously, head/neck shape, wing panel, bib size etc were deemed the salient points, with never a mention of bill spot, cheek pattern etc. An illuminating thread.
September 10th, 2009, 12:14 PM
Things such as bib and cap hark back to the 20s. The field guides have just been copying what the previous field guides have said, with no new information. Although the Macmillan field guide (Bird identification) highlighted the cheek pattern, and the bill marks have been in Svensson for years.
See if you can work out what species these 5 different birds are, using things like cap and bib and wing.
September 10th, 2009, 06:42 PM
Thanks mafting, some very useful information! Hopefully i will get some better pics in the next few days so i can have a better look at my bird, and practice my i.d. skills, i have made a hide using an old tent and a pen knife so may get some closer shots soon.