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-   -   Warbler Eastern Saudi Arabia (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=85790)

JANJ Sunday 13th May 2007 13:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jane Turner (Post 887395)
Howard, Booted is a small neat tidy bird, confusable with a Phylloscopus!

This is a big stonking Hippo!

Yes - that´s the impression you get from these pic. Furthermore the obvious pale edginge to the secondaries ('wingpanel') is an elaeica (EOW), languida (Upcher´s) olivetorum (Olive-tree) and icterina Icterine) character. The bill gives the impression of being non caligata (Booted) or rama (Sykes´s) slender - and notice that the upper mandible is obviously down-curved near the tip, which you don´t see in that fashion in Booted or Sykes´s. Regarding the lower mandible pattern - all pale versus with a dark 'spot' at - or near the tip - usually all pale in elaeica and languida but with a 'spot' in caligata and rama - but not always in these two. One other character visible in the hand or in good images is how the emarginations of the primaries falls on the closed wing - at level or slightly behind the longest tip of the tertial (or secondarie tips) in elaeica and languida - well inside for caligata and rama which can be seen in Howards linked birds. But can we see that in AJ,s bird? I have myself some promblems seeing this for certain. However the above mentioned characters speaks negative for Booted or Sykes´s. The legs on the subject bird looks pale reddish-brown with darker grey feet - that would corresponde well with Booted - hence the name. ;)

JanJ

AJDH Sunday 13th May 2007 16:12

Regarding the size of the bird, I got the impression it was quite small. Here's a link to a graceful prinia in the same bush. Maybe the branches etc against this bird will help in scaling the questionable warbler.

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/dat..._6900_800w.jpg

Frenchy Sunday 13th May 2007 17:52

This is getting good!

After checking, looks like i was wrong on the number of primaries beyond the tertials on Booted. They can have seven. Moral: always check more than one picture!

However, i had a feeling that Booted Warbler can show almost a small notch to the tail, whereas the mystery bird clearly has a slightly rounded tail. See these two Booteds (they are autumn birds but i don't think it should make a difference for this) which seem to support this.

http://www.scillybirding.co.uk/images/Bootedwarbler.jpg

http://www.birdsireland.com/images/2...st/booted2.jpg

Hippolais warblers have taken up many trees worth of ID papers and correspondance in the journals. They can be a very tricky group! I'm going to have to resort to the unscientific view that it just looks too long for a Booted, with a large bill that has a completely pale lower mandible. Booted usually has a dark tip to the lower Check out:

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?im...3D10%26hl%3Den


Athough these ones do have a completely pale lower mandible...

http://www.kolkatabirds.com/bootedwarbler8cf.jpg

http://www.scillybirding.co.uk/images/Booted-4.jpg

However, i'm yet to find one with striking pale fringes to the secondaries and tertials, and they always seem to look like this:

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?im...3D10%26hl%3Den

and this:

http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/se...ID=&pagesize=1

with the closest match being this bird:

http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/se...ID=&pagesize=1

This is a very interesting bird! Still think thats it an Upcher's based on a number of factors that have been mentioned throughout this thread. I think that while there are individual features that may be shown by Booted as well, they don't all add up to make the complete package. I've been wrong before though...

hannu Sunday 13th May 2007 18:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard King (Post 886570)
You might like to check out the following page - I have toned down the sun on AJ's pictures and have these images together with shots of both Upchers and Olivaceous for comparison - see what you think
> http://www.hawar-islands.com/blog/id_stub.php

More concentrated whitish secondary panel refers clearly better to Upcher's than Eastern Olivaceous. This bird does not look Booted Warbler; it has not dark-looking crown-sides, not rounded head, not relatively short bill, not rather short tail as it should be, if the bird would be Booted.

hannu Monday 14th May 2007 10:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard King (Post 886546)
I would therefore go with Reed (Eastern / fuscus presumably) but for me the light does make it impossible to say for certain. Rump colour (if noted) would be another clue (should be warm brown in Reed at this time of year but more or less concolorous with mantle in Marsh).

Blyth's Reed is another possibility but it appears to lack the 'flattened head' of that species, and also the dark tip to the lower mandible.

This case is very clear that bird is indeed Hippo-species without any doupt.
Reed and Blyth's Reed has not pale wing panel or so dark eyes as this bird and Blyth's Reed has not any pale tips or edges in the wing feathers (the feature, which it separate from every Hippos and related Acros; thus being very uniform upperparts with at most olive tinge in the outer edges of wing feathers and coverts). In addition to Blyth's Reed has not that kind of whitish outer web on t6 (which is very typical for Hippo), neither so clear white tips on the tail feathers (typical also for fuscus and also even nominate Reed, but not usually so distinct).
Some Blyth's Reed has all pale lower mandible without any clear mark of dark spot near the tip, but that kind of individuals are rather rare.

Howard King Monday 14th May 2007 10:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jane Turner (Post 887395)
Howard, Booted is a small neat tidy bird, confusable with a Phylloscopus!

This is a big stonking Hippo!

Jane if it were a big Hippo can you ask AJ how in the first place he thought it small enough to be considered a Graceful or Scrub Warbler - he is sure it was a small bird which Upchers is not.

Was out yesterday again here in Bahrain saw around a dozen olivaceous but didn't sadly see any further Upchers. We did manage to trap and ring seven species including A Nightjar, Nightingale, Garden and Reed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher - I did have a good look at each any can say in all honesty AJ's bird was not amongst them.

hannu Monday 14th May 2007 11:26

The head shape and the head size is clearly wrong for typical Booted. The biggest Eastern Olivaceous are same size as the smallest Upcher's individuals (Svensson). So the size of these two later mentioned Hippo-species varies rather much. I have no seen any pics from Booted, which jizz reminds somehow Acro. As the Jane said, Booted reminds more Phyllocs than Acro (in shape and also possible so in size too).

Frenchy Monday 14th May 2007 18:22

Hi

Howard, for those of us not on mbnet, is it possible to post those comments on here as well, or provide a link? It would be really useful to have everything in one place. I see that Killian Mullarney has suggested Eastern Olivaceous as the best fit. The only comment from Killian i've read is the very brief one that you posted on EBN. Was there any more? Also, any chance you could post your photoshopped overlays? Sorry if thats asking a lot, but it would really help the learning curve.

Cheers,
Paul.

JANJ Monday 14th May 2007 20:48

Paul.

different opinions are to be seen here - either EOW or UW it could be either or UW which I lean towards.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MEBird...sages/3238?l=1

JanJ

Howard King Monday 14th May 2007 21:44

Hi Paul (Frenchy) -

Some of the replies I receive are sent privately more so for MEB than EBN as such I am not prepared to place those here. Network traffic for EBN & MEB is fully documented on the web not certain of the url's however. I sent the intial inquiry to both networks so replies can often appear on both. I did received an update from Killian, sent to me direct, I will ask him to reply as he has read these discussions.

My photoshop bits and pieces I discarded -

Hi Hannu -

Swensson (in my english copy page 178) also states for H. pallida, the following:
NB.1 The smallest individuals of H. p. elaeica may be difficult to separate from H caligata Booted Warbler –
NB. 2 H. P. elaeica may also be very difficult to seperate from ad. Acrocephalus dumetorum Blyth's Reed Warbler.

You mention that head shape and size as being wrong for Booted it is precisely these features that many birders here in the middle east, feel do not fit into their perceived jizz for Olivaceous or Upcher's they state that those species are much more flat headed. I however still remain open minded and await a clinical diagnosis of the pictures. I now change my mind yet again to "don't Know"

We do also face a problem with Swensson for some species - a lack of data so we have to use a variety of other books. The reason being that in the Arabian Gulf so few birds have been fully studied or collected that the sub species thought to occur for some has to yet to be proven scientifically and could in fact be wrong. In fact so much of the old data we have here is based purely on field obs, separation for many Ssp can be dificult enough even with the bird in the hand. We are fortunate to be able to call on Mike Jennings coordinator of Arabian Breeding Bird Atlas he has an incredible database and bibliography plus a wealth of local birding expertise.

An example of observations from our old records - I will quote one of my favourites from Rogers & Gallagher 1973 Birds of Bahrain (privately published)
"Records not at present accepted. Melanitta fusca Velvet Scoter - not accepted misidentification of Cormorants fishing offshore". The observers name wasn't given but it does make you wonder a bit as to the quality of Historic obs, however this is nothing as I am constantly being amazed also at just how good some visiting birders are when they report that have been able to separate in the field at a hundred metres in our light certain species down to subspecies level.

gerdwichers8 Tuesday 15th May 2007 00:30

Hello BF-ers

I am preparing for my 13 weeks recumbent cycling trip, so I have no time to weigh all refinement in this thread. (My gear demands different thinking)
It should have been a weak thing just to follow Mullarny or Mullarney and say: EOW; but I did not.
Apart from his expertise in this, I found myself not at all with any other while reading the thread,even though it made me shrimp on my own position.
I too think its a EOW.

hannu Tuesday 15th May 2007 06:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard King (Post 889058)
Hi Hannu -

Swensson (in my english copy page 178) also states for H. pallida, the following:
NB.1 The smallest individuals of H. p. elaeica may be difficult to separate from H caligata Booted Warbler –
NB. 2 H. P. elaeica may also be very difficult to seperate from ad. Acrocephalus dumetorum Blyth's Reed Warbler.

You mention that head shape and size as being wrong for Booted it is precisely these features that many birders here in the middle east, feel do not fit into their perceived jizz for Olivaceous or Upcher's they state that those species are much more flat headed. I however still remain open minded and await a clinical diagnosis of the pictures. I now change my mind yet again to "don't Know"

We do also face a problem with Swensson for some species - a lack of data so we have to use a variety of other books. The reason being that in the Arabian Gulf so few birds have been fully studied or collected that the sub species thought to occur for some has to yet to be proven scientifically and could in fact be wrong. In fact so much of the old data we have here is based purely on field obs, separation for many Ssp can be dificult enough even with the bird in the hand. We are fortunate to be able to call on Mike Jennings coordinator of Arabian Breeding Bird Atlas he has an incredible database and bibliography plus a wealth of local birding expertise.

At least some EOW can be that kind of head shape in some pics.
The size is sometimes rather difficult to estimate in the field and the variation of the size is rather big on these small sized birds (very often 10%).
I wonder why the bird seems to be some tail movements in the pics, which just refers to EOW or Upcher's.

We can rule out Blyth's Reed for sure. Blyth's Reed has chest-nut iris and curved rictal bristles, whereas all Hippo species have relative dark eye and straigth rictal bristles. Also Blyth's Reed has same colour in alula as the wing. This is somewhat variable in worn birds in BRW, but most have outer web of alula quite uniform and contrasting to darker inner web. Marsh Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler and at least most greyish Hippo species have darker alula with paler outer margin.

Howard King Tuesday 15th May 2007 10:20

I agree Blyth's Reed seems unlikely. The obvious features on the wing are clear however the main sticking points are size as first described by Adrian - the shape of the head, colour of the legs, tail shape, rounded or square and was it spread out or fanned plus flicked or wagged, all points picked up by others and repeated in personal correspondence.

There is also one item I think we also have to consider and that is the bird's behaviour. On passage Upcher's are a skulking and silent passage migrant species, prefering areas of open but mixed vegetation. Olivaceous are a local migrant breeding species and behave accordingly. Quite gregarious males constantly sing often from prominent perches and all, both m/f are so much more active popping in and out, up and down and around the vegetation. They have a preference for thick mature vegetation. However Reed and Marsh warblers can be skulking or active, and when active in a feeding mode do flick wag and fan tails possibly for balance but it is behaviour seen often plus they regularly turn up in coastal halophytic vegetation especially if mixed with tamarisk as is the case in the location where AJ photographed this bird. We have ringed three or four Reed this week, I personally rule out this species with complete confidence on shape, size and colour alone even given the bad light in the pictures.

Don't know if this helps any but all adds to the picture.

Howard King Tuesday 15th May 2007 10:28

PS to the above can't pass comments on Booted have never seen one.

hannu Tuesday 15th May 2007 10:58

Follow thougths based on your (Howard's link) pics;
There seems to be some differences in the length of tertials and in the primary projection between these species (EOW and Upcher's). The tertials are longer, thus reaches at least in the same line as "the tip of " secondaries in Upcher's, whereas tertials of Eastern Olivaceous does not "cover" totally secondaries. The primary projection seems to be longer in Upcher's than Eastern Olivaceous, but these details should study more.
Also we should look at possible differences in supercilium and loral areas.
In my mind, the supercilium of EOW looks more distinct and sharp in the front of eye and above the eye than in Upcher's, but this based only few pics of Upcher's. The dark loral area is rather wide and thus odd in this 'mystery' bird.

hannu Tuesday 15th May 2007 12:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard King (Post 889441)
However Reed and Marsh warblers can be skulking or active, and when active in a feeding mode do flick wag and fan tails possibly for balance but it is behaviour seen often plus they regularly turn up in coastal halophytic vegetation especially if mixed with tamarisk as is the case in the location where AJ photographed this bird. We have ringed three or four Reed this week, I personally rule out this species with complete confidence on shape, size and colour alone even given the bad light in the pictures.
Don't know if this helps any but all adds to the picture.

I agree that we can also rule out both Marsh and Reed Warblers. The colouration of upperparts (they have also distinct edges, and a quite distinct greenish-olive tinge above in Marsh, whereas more warmer, often rufous-tinged above in Reed) and underparts seems to be wrong for both species. That kind of greyish upperparts match best for greyish Hippos.

AJDH Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:12

I have been reading all the posts since I put up this bird and I'd like to thank everyone for their time and effort they have put in. It's been very interesting reading the variations and differences of the correspondents replies.

Thank you all.

Adrian

Edward woodwood Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:16

what about the tertial spacing?

one of the pics seems to show an Upcher's pattern?

Frenchy Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard King (Post 889058)
however this is nothing as I am constantly being amazed also at just how good some visiting birders are when they report that have been able to separate in the field at a hundred metres in our light certain species down to subspecies level.

I know the feeling! On arriving for a two month stay at Eilat IBRCE, i told Reuven Yosef that one of the things i wanted to do was check out racial variations. He laughed, and said that all western birders came to Israel expecting to be able to put a subspecific name to everything - Lesser Whitethroats, Yellow Wagtails etc, but that his advice was don't bother! And to a certain extent he was right. There are so many birds out there that do not fit into our neat racial catagories, especially with the two examples i mentioned. The more we learn about these species, the more we find we do not know, if that makes sense.

Just as a thought, and probably my last word on the subject as it looks as though we are reaching a point of stalemate, is it possible that Adrian's first impression of Graceful Prinia was partially influenced by the bird swinging its tail around when he first saw it?

Cheers,
Paul.

Jane Turner Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:29

At first I thought it was a graceful prinia because all I could see was a wagging tail.


You mean like this :)

hannu Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:37

Howard,
you can see some head shape of EOW in the follow link:
http://www.tarsiger.com/gallery/inde...iva+DESC&sel=2

Jane Turner Tuesday 15th May 2007 13:51

and a couple of Upcher's

http://www.birdfinders.co.uk/images/...orgia-2006.jpg
http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/U...butzLotan).jpg

AJDH Tuesday 15th May 2007 14:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jane Turner (Post 889560)
At first I thought it was a graceful prinia because all I could see was a wagging tail.


You mean like this :)

The tail was not as long as this......................when will it end? :'D

AJDH Tuesday 15th May 2007 14:20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frenchy (Post 889551)

Just as a thought, and probably my last word on the subject as it looks as though we are reaching a point of stalemate, is it possible that Adrian's first impression of Graceful Prinia was partially influenced by the bird swinging its tail around when he first saw it?

Cheers,
Paul.

That's right Paul. All I could see in the bush was the tail movement, so I thought graceful prinia as I'd photographed one in the same bush days earlier. It was only when the bird showed itself a bit more that I realised it was something else.

hannu Wednesday 16th May 2007 05:21

I changed my mind and I'd favor also more EOW, because
* the prim proj (and body shape) are not very longish,
* the bill is almost medium-sized with clearly down curved tip (down curved tip is less prominent and thus bill more straigth in Upcher's),
* the comment about small size favor also more EOW,
* the length of tail is also more medium size than longish.
* the colour of tail should be more darker in the shadow if the bird would be Upcher's
* the pale edges and tips of wing feathers are not so prominent, if we notice that the angle of ligth strengthen the impression of pale areas
* the fact that EOW is most common in this time of year in the area
...
But of course, there are many questions (e.g. tail movements),
in which are rather impossible to get answers


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