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Short-toed or Common Treecreeper?

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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:08   #1
mike a
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Short-toed or Common Treecreeper?

Hi All,

I recently posted some photos of what I thought was a common treecreeper, but received an email from someone who said:

"I think it is a Short-toed Treecreeper. The shape of the buffish wingbar, the bill, the white spots on the end of the primaries all suggest this.
Although the hind claw is quite long, more like the Common Treecreepers. It would be good if others have a look at it."

The photos can be seen on my website at: http://mikeatkinson.net/Treecreeper.htm

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks,
Mike.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:10   #2
JRE
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Where did you take it? Short-toed would be extremely unusual in Britian.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:15   #3
Geoff Pain
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Can't help you with the Treecreeper,but some cracking shots on your website.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:16   #4
mike a
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Firecrest
Where did you take it? Short-toed would be extremely unusual in Britian.
I took the photo two weeks ago in woods adjacent to Redesmere lake in Cheshire (northern England).
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:22   #5
dan pointon
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Hi Mike,

Although I have very little experience with STTs, a few points are noticable (apart from the obvious liklihood of it being CT.) The white spots on the primaries are variable in Treecreepers- and some birds can show some pale fringing in this area (nicked from Collins!), albeit perhaps not pure white as in STT, I think this could be the case with this bird. In terms of the 'even stepping' on the wing, this too is variable dependant upon obviously, what posture the bird is in, but I think that the very large step towards the bottom is diagnostic of CT, as STT only shows a small step. Add this to the fact that as you say the hind claw is fairly long, and I think it would be fair to say this bird is a CT.

I reckon if you study and Treecreeper for long enough you could turn it in to a ST or vice versa, and perhaps that's what's happened here.

Cheers

D

Last edited by dan pointon : Saturday 16th December 2006 at 17:25.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:23   #6
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Great pics, btw.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:28   #7
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Hi Mike

The obvious dusky flanks and very 'scruffy' looking supercilium are both good features for Short-toed Treecreeper. I can't decide looking at the images whether the mantle is grey or brown though (it has a different appearance in the different images). I don't have a great deal of field experience of STT (although I have seen many, many Treecreepers; all of which have cleaner underparts and supercilia than this) but this bird looks like a very good candidate for one and would be one hell of a record for Cheshire.

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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:34   #8
bitterntwisted
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I can see your correspondents' thinking. I don't have experience of Short-toed but this does not look typical of an adult Common Treecreeper to me. The ventral area and also supercilium seem very buff-coloured, and the bill is quite long. However the wing pattern and primary tips appear a better match for Common Treecreeper, and the potentially eponymous hindclaw is long.

Given the extreme unlikelihood of vagrancy of Short-Toed Treecreeper to Cheshire I'd be thinking this was just a Common Treecreeper showing atypical plumage tones, but I'll be looking forward to posts form those who see both species regularly.

Short-Toed Treecreeper has only 21 accepted UK records, and only 1 away from the south coast.

Graham
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:43   #9
hannu
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Common Treecreeper,
e.g. pale spot on 7P (4P in Svensson) is prominent, Short-toed Treecreeper it has often small or even absent.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:47   #10
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I used to go birding quite often in a corner of Denmark that has both species, which was often challenging. My first impression of this bird was that the buff on the flanks isn't extensive enough for Short-toed treecreeper. Other features also tend to support the ID as Common Treecreeper, including the fact that the supercilium is well defined in front of the eye, the spacing of the primary tips, and, as others have mentioned, the long hind claw. In the field the best feature is the call, but even that isn't always straightforward.

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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 17:48   #11
dan pointon
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Does the really large step towards the bottom not point more towards CT?
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 18:11   #12
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Even the Macmillan field guide says that the best way to seperate them is on voice
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 18:24   #13
mike a
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Unfortunately, I didn't hear the bird make any calls at the time, so I can't help with the voice id.

The balance of opinion so far seems to be that it's a CT, but a slightly unusual one.

Mike.

P.S: Geoff, Dan, thanks for your kind comments about the pics on my website.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 18:35   #14
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Not sure if these pics will help or not but here´s two different STT from central Spain. One with no pale step on 4th primary, the other with a biggish one. Also eyebrows look very prominent on these birds, contra some of what I read on a few posts. Treecreepers out of range, no voice heard, too hard...
First two pics 1st bird, 3rd & 4th second bird
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Old Saturday 16th December 2006, 18:57   #15
halftwo
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I found this:
http://www.fbog.co.uk/descriptions/TREECREEPERsp.htm
Hope it helps!
Got to say that this primary description is going to be useless in the field - OK if you catch the bird. And take a look at the overlap of hindclaw size for the two species - I had always assumed that they were called STT because that was a feature. These things are not as "easy" as I thought. If they don't call its going to be really difficult.
H

Last edited by halftwo : Saturday 16th December 2006 at 19:25.
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Old Sunday 17th December 2006, 19:50   #16
Th_SQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike a
The photos can be seen on my website at: http://mikeatkinson.net/Treecreeper.htm

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
Amazing pics Mike !

This is a Common Treecreeper for me :
- ratio claw/bill too large
- pattern on alula more like Common
- spacing of primaries perfect for Common
- pale spot on 4th primary too big for Short-Toed
- ...
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Old Sunday 17th December 2006, 21:22   #17
dan pointon
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Here's another bird that shows similar features to this one, this bird was at Carsington Water this week. STT's, rare! Pha! The UK's crawling with um

http://www.carsingtonbirdclub.co.uk/...ngs_images.htm

(2nd bird down on the right)
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Old Sunday 17th December 2006, 21:32   #18
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To be honest with a species that is soooo cryptic i'd be extremely surprised if it wasnt a more frequent vagrant than we realize.
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Old Sunday 17th December 2006, 21:41   #19
JANJ
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Hi Mike.

I tend to agree with others here the 'creeper' being a Common for the reasons made by Th_SQ (who´s back). The complete pale fringe on the outer web of the alula is sometimes lacking in STTC:

http://www.microbirding.se/vellinge/...k050410_PB.jpg

but check the the pale bar (spot) on p4 mentioned by Th_SQ and compare the degree of overlap with pale bar on p6 & p7 on the linked SSTC with mikes bird. The hind claw looks huge.

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Old Wednesday 20th December 2006, 09:15   #20
mike a
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Thanks for all your comments, folks.
I've certainly learned a thing or two, including how similar the short-toed treecreeper is to the common and how much variation can exist in either one.
I still don't think I'd recognise a short-toed in the field without a lot more practice.
I'm just glad you guys are on hand to help if I manage to photograph anything a bit different!
:-)
Mike.
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