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Possible Northern Long-tailed Tit, West Midlands

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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 17:31   #1
Matt Griffiths
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Possible Northern Long-tailed Tit, West Midlands

A flock of Long-tailed Tits containing a rather light-headed individual has been visiting the bird feeders in my garden during the last two evenings. This evening it made three visits, and I managed some really rubbish pics on the second occasion before remembering my camera does video and got two video clips when it returned. Unfortunately it returned on its own on the last occasion, so there's no others to compare it with. Also I haven't seen it during better light yet.

Pics below. As can be seen, the bird lacks the black band above each eye, and the head is largely white with some very fine dusky markings. So far I haven't been able to study the extent of the markings on the belly/flank area. Are there other features I should look at if I see it again? Bird in question was still at fat balls in 5th pic. Will try to upload videos in a few minutes.

Would appreciate others' thoughts on its racial ID. Thanks.

Kind regards,
Matt
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 17:51   #2
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Looks pretty good to me.
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 17:57   #3
Stephen Dunstan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Griffiths View Post
A flock of Long-tailed Tits containing a rather light-headed individual has been visiting the bird feeders in my garden during the last two evenings. This evening it made three visits, and I managed some really rubbish pics on the second occasion before remembering my camera does video and got two video clips when it returned. Unfortunately it returned on its own on the last occasion, so there's no others to compare it with. Also I haven't seen it during better light yet.

Pics below. As can be seen, the bird lacks the black band above each eye, and the head is largely white with some very fine dusky markings. So far I haven't been able to study the extent of the markings on the belly/flank area. Are there other features I should look at if I see it again? Bird in question was still at fat balls in 5th pic. Will try to upload videos in a few minutes.

Would appreciate others' thoughts on its racial ID. Thanks.

Kind regards,
Matt
Matt,

Check out http://www.bbrc.org.uk/Riact.pdf and scroll down.

It states that they welcome images of birds that approach caudatus anyway so on that basis I would think you may as well submit.

Regards,

Stephen
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 18:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Griffiths View Post
A flock of Long-tailed Tits containing a rather light-headed individual has been visiting the bird feeders in my garden during the last two evenings. This evening it made three visits, and I managed some really rubbish pics on the second occasion before remembering my camera does video and got two video clips when it returned. Unfortunately it returned on its own on the last occasion, so there's no others to compare it with. Also I haven't seen it during better light yet.

Pics below. As can be seen, the bird lacks the black band above each eye, and the head is largely white with some very fine dusky markings. So far I haven't been able to study the extent of the markings on the belly/flank area. Are there other features I should look at if I see it again? Bird in question was still at fat balls in 5th pic. Will try to upload videos in a few minutes.

Would appreciate others' thoughts on its racial ID. Thanks.

Kind regards,
Matt
How's you French? Good article here...http://www.ornithomedia.com/pratique...nt_art94_1.htm

Interestingly they rekon 2% of Dutch 'europaeus' have white heads.

I don't know enough to say one way or the other, but I was lucky enough to see a flock of about 20 'caudatus' on the river bank back in Dec here in Burgundy. They were lovely and all very clean white headed.

Good luck.
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 18:16   #5
gareth_blockley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby2 View Post
How's you French? Good article here...http://www.ornithomedia.com/pratique...nt_art94_1.htm

Interestingly they rekon 2% of Dutch 'europaeus' have white heads.

I don't know enough to say one way or the other, but I was lucky enough to see a flock of about 20 'caudatus' on the river bank back in Dec here in Burgundy. They were lovely and all very clean white headed.

Good luck.
The above article translated http://www.microsofttranslator.com/B...nt_art94_1.htm

An interesting read.

Gareth
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 18:22   #6
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Thanks guys. Stephen, I will look into that.

Not brilliant videos, but now posted at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M0qqyQRmIo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v0kVkOENc8
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 18:27   #7
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Very good WM record, would love to see this bird but i understand it could present you problems to release details and I respect your privacy.
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 18:47   #8
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At the end of the Ornithomedia article there's this.....
http://www.dutchbirding.nl/~dbaftp/w...292008.pdfHead
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Old Thursday 20th January 2011, 12:28   #9
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Somehow the head doesn't look pure white to me, but it might be because of the picture quality. However, i can't exclude hybrid from these pics. I've seen some 10 hybrids caudatus x europaeus or birds with mixed features in Finland, but non pure europaeus.
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Old Thursday 20th January 2011, 12:48   #10
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Originally Posted by Matt Griffiths View Post
Thanks guys. Stephen, I will look into that.

Not brilliant videos, but now posted at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M0qqyQRmIo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v0kVkOENc8
The video appears to show it feeding alone Matt - is this so? Most Long Tails here are in large flocks (20+) and move through my garden quickly in a circuit.

Would be interesting if this is a "lone" bird.
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Old Thursday 20th January 2011, 12:49   #11
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IMO the ( faint ) markings on the head and the extent of white on the tertials would seem to indicate europaeus rather than the nominate. Still a cracking bird though.

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Old Thursday 20th January 2011, 20:52   #12
Matt Griffiths
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Thanks all. I've been reading up on caudatus and europaeus features, so as the bird showed on two very brief occasions again today, I knew a few things to pay particular attention to. I'm leaning towards an intergrade/hybrid, but given the short amount of time the bird spends in my garden on each visit, I'm hoping for more views.

Yes, there are dusky markings on the head, darkest behind the eye and extending to the black neckband (which as a result is perhaps not so well-defined). Also the white margins on the tertials seemed rather thin (but it might've just been the secondaries I was looking at), but this and possibly a very slight hint of breast band I will try to confirm tomorrow.

Daniel, yes the bird came alone on its final visit to my garden yesterday evening when I videoed it. Prior to that I'd seen it in the company of a local flock. Interestingly, I think on every occasion I've seen the flock arrive this evening and yesterday evening, it's been the first (or one of the first) LT to get to the feeders, and the first to move on; also this afternoon I saw it briefly for the first time during proper daylight, and it landed on the feeders and was scared off by another flock member, it tried to land on them again but was chased off - suggesting that it isn't an aberrant local bird. I didn't see this behaviour this evening.

Matt
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