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Marsh/Willow/Willow/Marsh, UK, Sept 2007

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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 08:18   #1
tom mckinney
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Marsh/Willow/Willow/Marsh, UK, Sept 2007

Taken in England yesterday. Never made a sound.

Knock yourselves out.

ps this wasn't in Greater Manchester.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 09:00   #2
gareth_blockley
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I'm tempted to go with marsh for all as i can't pic out anything thats defines willow (in my eyes), but i'm prepared to be put right..

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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 09:37   #3
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It looks like a clear willow tit to me. Bill and cheek seem clinchers, while the warm buffy underparts and loose feathering around the head are good supports. Wing panel can depend on angle, and not all birds have them. This may well be a worn juv so any panel could well be absent.

Where WAS it taken?
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 09:41   #4
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Another vote for Willow Tit.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 10:35   #5
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Im with Willow, the black cap reaches quite far down the nape and in pic 1 a hint of wing panel is visible. The cheeks are quite buffy which is good for willow.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 11:00   #6
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Looks like Willow Tit. As already been said, big headed, extensive white cheeks and a worn wing panel.
There is also a nice pic of it's bill, which if Marsh would show a vertical white smudge near the base of the upper mandible

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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 12:04   #7
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Instincts lean me towards Willow, but..but, the bird looks like a juv to me, slight variance of colours in cheek, tail etc. and is that new glossy feather on the crown reflecting light in photos 1 and 2, what do you think? Also for me at least I can see no wing panel. More I look at the photos the easier it becomes to be undecided on Willow, might be my eyesight!!!
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 12:22   #8
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Juv marsh and willows (and other tits) completed their body moult a few weeks ago, so they'll have new head and body feathers, but old worn wings, tertials and varying numbers of tail and greater covert feathers. So the head will look fresh (maybe even glossy) while the wing will look worn (and any pale margins would have abraded, if it had much to begin with).
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 12:34   #9
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Its a Marsh-looking Willow.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 16:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom mckinney View Post
Taken in England yesterday. Never made a sound.
I think silence is always best when trying to take bird pics as even the sound of the shutter can often scare some species away. ()


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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 16:54   #11
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My gut reaction was Willow Tit - largely based on structure and subtlies of plumage. Closer inspection tends to confirm this reaction - an additional pointer is that the outer tail feathers look a bit pale. Never come across Steven Astley's point about the bill - interesting,
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 17:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
My gut reaction was Willow Tit - largely based on structure and subtlies of plumage. Closer inspection tends to confirm this reaction - an additional pointer is that the outer tail feathers look a bit pale. Never come across Steven Astley's point about the bill - interesting,
John
The bill thing is mentioned in Svensson for a Swiss population of Marsh Tit, and touted as a species-specific character, but it's not been confirmed in other populations yet. People are looking at it though, and apparently it seems to be solid for British birds too. Willow never seem to show it.

Both marsh and willow have whitish outer margins (and tips when fresh) to the outer tail feathers, so that's not an i.d. character. Length of outer tail feathers relative to the next pair in is a reliable i.d. guide for ringers, but is only useful in fresh birds as the tail quickly abrades.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 17:23   #13
tom mckinney
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Glad to see the majority opinion was Willow Tit, as that's what the photos show. All shots taken yesterday at Fairburn Ings RSPB, where I believe a Marsh Tit would be quite a good record (?).
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 17:28   #14
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Hi Tom,
Feel free to come over and take pics of one here, where Marsh (one record) or Willow (no records, but a claim in 1995) would be 'quite a good record'...
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 17:39   #15
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Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
My gut reaction was Willow Tit - largely based on structure and subtlies of plumage. Closer inspection tends to confirm this reaction - an additional pointer is that the outer tail feathers look a bit pale. Never come across Steven Astley's point about the bill - interesting,
John
Poecile original pointed it out. Checked through some pics sceptical and it seems a good feature with a good view of bill. Careful though not getting this feature confused with the light catching the bill, especially where the 2 mandibles meet, which often seems stronger at the base of the bill.
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