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Warbler id ?

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Old Sunday 15th June 2003, 21:52   #1
peteh
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Warbler id ?

Hi, I thought this was a sedgey to begin with till I saw the plain back.
Anyone got any ideas?
(This was in the Isle of man, at an area around a very small river.
Lots of reeds, gorse & thorn bushes there but this bird seemed to fancy the ferns the most.)

Thanks
Pete.
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Old Sunday 15th June 2003, 23:08   #2
Ashley beolens
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Its very hard to tell from the angle (the facial features are always usefull in these situations, but is it possibly reed warbler?
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Old Sunday 15th June 2003, 23:10   #3
Mark D
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Hi Pete,

Definately not a Sedge as you suggested. My opinion would be a Reed Warbler (acrocephalus scirpaceus). The plain brown plumage rules out Sedge and Gr'opper. It appears to be a nice warm brown to the upperparts ruling out Garden Warbler.
There is a rufous tone to the upper tail area which lends itself to it being a Reed Warbler rather than a Marsh Warbler.

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 03:53   #4
Charles Harper
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Sorry, I don't know your other warblers, but body-tail proportion looks a little off-- body too big, tail too short-- for a Reed Warbler. ...That's all I got to say.
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 07:24   #5
CJW
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I tend to agree Pete, it looks like a Reed Warbler. I just have a few concerns though. It doesn't look quite 'warm' enough in the photo (and the rump colouration doesn't appear to be any stronger than the mantle), the primaries appear a little long and the choice of habitat is a little suspect seeing as there is a suitable reedbed in the vicinity. Given that both species are rare on the island, it may well be a Marsh Warbler. I'll try and get out there this afternoon and have a look.
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 07:35   #6
peteh
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I also have this picture, which at the time of taking I wasnt too sure if it was the same bird. As the wierd warbler kept doing a bit of singing then flying off and disappearing then 5 minutes later would reappear again.
But Ill post it just in case it is the same bird.
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 08:24   #7
Darrell Clegg
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The first picture is a classic 'acro' pose - the second makes it looks like a 'phylosc' - check that supercillium!! - and those legs!!! However I'll assume it's an 'acro' because the under tail coverts are way too long for anything else.
I fancy Marsh Warbler for the following reasons:
CJW has already pointed out the generally dull tones and concolourous rump- though light and the camera can alter things a little.
The leg colour - is paler than in Reed, which tends to be grey. Leg colour can be variable however, but not the claws which are always pale in Marsh and dark in Reed. In the second photo you can see one of the claws and it appears to be pale.
Again CJW has drawn attention to the habitat. I would have thought that if there were reeds nearby a Reed Warbler would be found there. I've often seen Reed Warbler in other habitats on passage but only when there is no suitable reed for them to use. Marsh Warbler on the other hand prefer areas with bushes.
If this is a bird on passage I would have thought that it is incredibly late for Reed Warbler - they have been in for at least a month and in most cases 2 months. Marsh Warbler on the other hand is a very late migrant - probably the last bird to arrive - The first two weeks in June being the best time to see them.

A good find though - whatever it is, especially as both are rare on the island.

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 08:38   #8
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Good God! Now I'm really confused - that supercillium is all-wrong for Reed and Marsh, but the back is too plain for Sedge. The crown is too dark for any phyllosc I can think of (and the undertail coverts too long.) What HAVE you found?
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 09:09   #9
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They were my first thoughts as well CJW - get yourself down there boy, the suspense is killing me!

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 09:15   #10
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I'll be down there within the hour. I'm completely stumped.
The rump, supercillium, dark crown (edges) and undertail remind me of Paddyfield, but the primaries are too long and the tail too short. I'll keep you all posted. I can see us ending-up on the old hybrid theory! Surely not!
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 09:19   #11
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I'm VERY intrigued, too. It does look like it is the same bird, but what is it?

With all the eastern birds that have turned up this spring (Black Lark, White-winged Tern, Terek Sand, Isabelline Shrike, etc) thoughts turned east to Paddyfield Warbler, but the primary projection is too long for that. Much too much of a supercilium and dark eye line for either Marsh or Reed. I also find myself unsure that it is an 'Acro' at all, as the tail looks rather square-ended, not rounded. Dusky or Radde's? Doesn't really look right for those, either. I'm baffled.

Can you get a detailed description, or even better, a tape, of the song?

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 09:24   #12
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One other (nasty!) thought . . . Reed x Sedge hybrids are known - that'll have to be considered too!

Michael

Added later - Whoops CJW, hadn't seen your last posting before mine were typed, looks like you beat me to it on the ideas!

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 09:28   #13
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I'm afraid you might be right Michael! The photos show characters of both species. This is killing me - I can't get there before 11am at the earliest, so that is going to be one Hell of a hairy 7 mile journey!
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 12:23   #14
peteh
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Thank god you lot are baffled,
I am getting quite depressed at these wierd birds I can't identify.

If it wasnt for me girlfriend needing picking up from the airport
I could have got a stack more pictures too...... doh women!!!
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 14:28   #15
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Well I found the bird almost straight away. Obviously different song - basically like a sedge but with lots of mimicry (House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Swallow and Pied Wagtail). The bird was best described as having the body of a Reed Warbler and the head of a sedge warbler. But, as can be seen from the photo (terrible heathaze today), it had a really long bill.
I'm afraid I've got to go with it being a hybrid.
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 16:18   #16
Michael Frankis
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Hi CJ,

Good you found it; does sound like a hybrid, but with all that mimicry, what chance Sedge x Marsh, rather than Sedge x Reed?

One can imagine a vagrant of Marsh (or Reed!) turning up last year, finding none the same, and pairing up with a local Sedge as a best available alternative. And this being the result.

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 17:24   #17
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Well done CJW at least you can rest a bit easier. Mimicry sounds like it has some marsh in it - what was it mimicking? I remember the first one i ever saw did a good Quail !!!

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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 17:26   #18
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I suppose Sedge x Marsh is a possibility, but I wouldn't like to call it! I'm certainly glad I didn't come across it as a non-singing juvenile last Autumn!
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 20:27   #19
Michael Frankis
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Hi Darrell,

CJW did say above: mimicking "(House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Swallow and Pied Wagtail)". Interestingly, all classic incorporations into Marsh Warbler song.

Michael
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 21:52   #20
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I've attached a montage of shots including the 3 posted here. If you want to see a larger size of this collection, let me know and I'll PM you with it.
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Old Monday 16th June 2003, 23:33   #21
Michael Frankis
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Of course it could be that Steve released the Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps that he got from a Japanese sailor . . .

Michael
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Old Tuesday 17th June 2003, 00:31   #22
Adey Baker
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Some Reed Warblers can be highly mimetic - I had one on one of my local patches last year which included, amongst others, snatches of Sedge Warbler song in it's repertoire!

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Old Tuesday 17th June 2003, 05:56   #23
Simon Woolley
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Hybird Warbler

I agree with the hybrid theory. The high degree of mimicry in the song might suggest Marsh x Sedge, but one can never tell!

There is a Mystery Photo discussion of known Reed x Sedge hybrids from Finland in BB 78 : 434-437, Sept 1985. The birds there look very like the IoM bird indeed - and Black-browed Reed Warbler is discussed as a pitfall there too!

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Old Tuesday 17th June 2003, 09:08   #24
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Hybrid Sedge x Reed seems right to me . I see no reason to suspect Sedge x Marsh on either plumage or song. Sedge Warblers are pretty good mimics themselves.

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Old Tuesday 17th June 2003, 09:33   #25
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Thanks Simon I'll read that article.

...and Michael Nice One, but don't go there...

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