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Marsh Warbler?

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Old Monday 7th October 2019, 18:47   #1
dragnil
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Marsh Warbler?

Fifteen years ago (!) I took this photo in NW Italy and the chap I was with, the warden of the reserve, said it was a Marsh Warbler. I took his word for it and now, after all this time, I've finally got around to asking why. It's not a bird I'm familiar with so can anyone please point out the ID features to me in case I find another in the next 15 years?
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Old Monday 7th October 2019, 20:14   #2
Jane Turner
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It's not safe to identify from that angle - need to see detail of the wing structure. It looks like a Marsh Warbler though and since it was singing, assuming the guy who pointed it out to you was familiar with the song, then its very likely that is a Marsh W
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Old Monday 7th October 2019, 23:51   #3
KenM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner View Post
It's not safe to identify from that angle - need to see detail of the wing structure. It looks like a Marsh Warbler though and since it was singing, assuming the guy who pointed it out to you was familiar with the song, then its very likely that is a Marsh W
Agreed...a good analysis Jane.

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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 08:13   #4
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If, by any chance, you can remember the song - then you’ve cracked it!

As Jane has pointed out the bird was presumably confirmed as Marsh because it was in song

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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 08:25   #5
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Thanks, to you both, I don't think I could remember the song if it was fifteen minutes ago, let alone years - the penalty of advancing years. I'll go and listen to have a chance if there's a next time. Thanks again.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 13:26   #6
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I read somewhere that the habitat you see the bird in can be an indication. The article said that the reed warbler is rarely seen away from reed beds, whereas the Marsh Warbler can be seen away from reed beds.
However I don't know how accurate this information is.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 14:16   #7
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Originally Posted by Earnest lad View Post
I read somewhere that the habitat you see the bird in can be an indication. The article said that the reed warbler is rarely seen away from reed beds, whereas the Marsh Warbler can be seen away from reed beds.
However I don't know how accurate this information is.
Reed Warbler does turn up in other habitat, especially on Autumn migration, eg in trees, hedges and away from wet areas as they rest, feed and continue their journey. The statement is likely more accurate in regard to breeding grounds.
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Old Wednesday 9th October 2019, 08:24   #8
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On migration anything, anywhere - hence ‘chance favours the prepared mind’

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Old Wednesday 9th October 2019, 08:47   #9
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yes but this bird was singing. so, to answer dragnil's question: song is by far the best ID feature in the difficult pair eurasian reed/marsh warbler. the optical identification requires good view/photos from the side in good light and even then it is not always possible to make a definite ID.
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Old Wednesday 9th October 2019, 09:21   #10
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Thanks, Lou, I didn't realise that separation of Reed and Marsh was so difficult. I do remember that Ugo was listening closely and I'm pretty confident in his ability, so I'll go with and with great caution if I meet another.
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Old Wednesday 9th October 2019, 09:46   #11
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The song is pretty distinct

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Old Saturday 12th October 2019, 15:02   #12
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I agree with all that its good to approach the definit ID of a Marsh Warber with caution.

I agree when someone says its good to be cautious, when assesing colours, as its possible that the colour of this bird are influenced by reflection of vegetation etc.

But when you assume that the colours are correct:
head and back in this bird are brown-grey with a green tinge.
The underparts are offwhite with a yellowish wash, and there is no brown on the flanks.
I know, Reed warblers without brownish wash to the flanks are frequent/regular, but the other colours?
I havent seen a Reed with the above mentioned colouration.(I havent seen a fuscus Reed yet):
So my question to more experiencend birders: have you seen a Reed Warbler with such a colouration before?

In other words: wouldnt you like a Marsh warbler to show such an IDfriendly colouration? Because in the majority of summer Marsh, the above mentioned (and in fieldguides) colours are not that evident. These birds are browner above and offwhite below and approach or are nearly identical to paler, less rufous Reeds.

Marsh with such greyish feet and darkish claws are rare, but I have seen some before.

I dont want to propose a new ID-feature, but: singing Reed warblers away from reeds in spring and summer normally do so hidden in vegetation, while Marsh are either hidden or quite open (but both very rarely exposed). Thats different to Reed warblers singing in reeds, where they regular sing open or exposed. Maybe this adds to the Marsh warbler feeling in this bird?

And last: arent you happy, that this bird has visible long undertail-coverts and a rounded tail, so a Hippolais-warbler can be excluded? I often say these words: imagine, this bird is a Reed warbler, would a Hippolais come in your mind, like in this bird?

conclusion: I hope to provoke some comments about the colouration as i am keen to learn! And I feel pity that this bird hasnt more normal colouration of feet and claws for a Marsh warbler. Because then I would say its an Idable Marsh.

For what its worth: here is a grey Reed warbler, taken near Angermünde, NE-Germany
https://flic.kr/s/aHskfmuWjM
Fading evening light adds to cold colours, but this was still a remarkable bird!
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