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Bird Life In My Area (and the odd animal) (1 Viewer)

Carpathian Ed

Well-known member
I hope you guys don't mind but I'd like to start a thread where I can document the various species I manage to photograph in my area (Carpathian Mountains, East Slovakia). If anybody ever travels this way to do a bit of birding, then maybe it will help them somewhat.

Winter

The birds/animals I have thus far posted are all from my garden. There are many more species but some are hard to photograph (the coal/marsh tit, I never know which it is, is extremely nervous and flits about too much; I witnessed a battle between 10 red squirrels in my trees the other day and didn't manage to get one decent photo)
 

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Carpathian Ed

Well-known member
I identified the Willow Tit as such following these guidelines - https://www.birdguides.com/articles/identification/marsh-and-willow-tits/ (specifically, obvious pale panel on wing, more extensive white on cheek). You wouldn't imagine just how many birds we currently have hanging around the garden waiting for feeding time. It's insane, especially when flocks of yellowhammers and tree sparrows join in
 

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MJB

Well-known member
I identified the Willow Tit as such following these guidelines - https://www.birdguides.com/articles/identification/marsh-and-willow-tits/ (specifically, obvious pale panel on wing, more extensive white on cheek). You wouldn't imagine just how many birds we currently have hanging around the garden waiting for feeding time. It's insane, especially when flocks of yellowhammers and tree sparrows join in
Note that article that you cite has a comment (from Tony Morris) about the reliability of the ID characteristics mentioned in it. In my experience, Willow Tits are not at all easy to separate in Slovakia or Czechia. Tony Morris states: "The best feature of separation is the pale base to the upper mandible of the Marsh Tit." In spring, song of course should be diagnostic.
MJB
 

Carpathian Ed

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply. I wish they'd have shown more of the Willow Tit for comparison in that video rather than just talking about it and mostly showing the Marsh Tit. I'll try to film it as Spring is coming so they'll be doing mating rituals soon.
Here's another photo of the bird showing its mandibles.
I can honestly say I've never heard anyone local use the name Czechia. They just call it Česko here. Or Czech Republic.
Can you tell me more about your birding in Slovakia? Why is it so difficult to separate them over here?
I'm right on the border of Ukraine and Poland, close to the Poloniny National Park (The Wolf Mountains film). I'm about 330 miles from Prague, across a couple of quite large mountain chains (the equivalent of London - Edinburgh), and about 230 from Bratislava (London - Newcastle).
 

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MJB

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply. I wish they'd have shown more of the Willow Tit for comparison in that video rather than just talking about it and mostly showing the Marsh Tit. I'll try to film it as Spring is coming so they'll be doing mating rituals soon.
Here's another photo of the bird showing its mandibles.
I can honestly say I've never heard anyone local use the name Czechia. They just call it Česko here. Or Czech Republic.
Can you tell me more about your birding in Slovakia? Why is it so difficult to separate them over here?
I'm right on the border of Ukraine and Poland, close to the Poloniny National Park (The Wolf Mountains film). I'm about 330 miles from Prague, across a couple of quite large mountain chains (the equivalent of London - Edinburgh), and about 230 from Bratislava (London - Newcastle).
Czechia is now the official name in English and German, I understand. Re the separation of Willow and Marsh, the difficulties are not confined to your area, but are part of the clinal pattern of plumage differences from west to east, and also from UK to mainland Europe. British bird ID books naturally emphasise plumage characteristics that are encountered in UK. Western European bird ID books tend to emphasise those of the European mainland, but of course many species whose distributions extend into (and beyond) the EU borders have populations or subspecies that differ from those in Western Europe...

I've done a fair amount of birding and survey work in Slovakia. I found 11 singing Common Rosefinch in a tiny area of bush-studded grassland just across the river from Pribylina, for example, and have been shown a Lesser Grey Shrike breeding area in which 9 breeding territories could be seen from a central position just over 30km SSW of Zvolen; one nest was observable just 2 metres from a farmer's upstairs bedroom! There's also a hillside not too far from Liptovský Mikuláš that holds breeding Lesser Grey, Great Grey and Red-backed Shrikes. Slovakia also has 9 breeding species of woodpecker (and a near-surplus of Brown Bear and a healthy wolf population plus Rock Martens)... What's not to like? Peter Kovalik isn't too far from you, and Miro Saniga (Mr Wallcreeper) works still, I understand, in Staré Hory. It's a wonderful birding country.
MJB
 

Carpathian Ed

Well-known member
Czechia is now the official name in English and German, I understand. Re the separation of Willow and Marsh, the difficulties are not confined to your area, but are part of the clinal pattern of plumage differences from west to east, and also from UK to mainland Europe. British bird ID books naturally emphasise plumage characteristics that are encountered in UK. Western European bird ID books tend to emphasise those of the European mainland, but of course many species whose distributions extend into (and beyond) the EU borders have populations or subspecies that differ from those in Western Europe...

I've done a fair amount of birding and survey work in Slovakia. I found 11 singing Common Rosefinch in a tiny area of bush-studded grassland just across the river from Pribylina, for example, and have been shown a Lesser Grey Shrike breeding area in which 9 breeding territories could be seen from a central position just over 30km SSW of Zvolen; one nest was observable just 2 metres from a farmer's upstairs bedroom! There's also a hillside not too far from Liptovský Mikuláš that holds breeding Lesser Grey, Great Grey and Red-backed Shrikes. Slovakia also has 9 breeding species of woodpecker (and a near-surplus of Brown Bear and a healthy wolf population plus Rock Martens)... What's not to like? Peter Kovalik isn't too far from you, and Miro Saniga (Mr
Wallcreeper) works still, I understand, in Staré Hory. It's a wonderful birding country.
MJB
Slovakia is a stunning place. I'm surprised you made it as far as Liptovsky Mikulas - major bear country! I live about another 3 hours drive East from there. This country has such a diverse range of environments, and a crazy biodiversity - bustards to the south and chamois to the north. One of the reasons I've lived where I do for the last 22 years is because it's so wild. We get 6 species of woodpecker just in the garden. Yesterday I saw a wolf in the snow on the forest edge up the hill behind me, but it was too far to get anything but a blurry blob of a photo.
One bad thing about where I live, though, is that it takes so long to get anywhere. Staré Hory is probably only a couple of hundred miles as the crow flies but it would take me at least 4 hours to get there...
Rock martens are actually called stone martens, or beech martens (the term I prefer). They're a pain in the proverbial... I can hear one thumping around in the attic as I type this, hunting the cute but extremely destructive edible dormice, shrews or yellow backed mice. If you really want to try your hand at identification through minor details, try telling the difference between Beech and Pine martens.








It sounds like you really get around!
 

MJB

Well-known member
Slovakia is a stunning place. I'm surprised you made it as far as Liptovsky Mikulas - major bear country! I live about another 3 hours drive East from there. This country has such a diverse range of environments, and a crazy biodiversity - bustards to the south and chamois to the north. One of the reasons I've lived where I do for the last 22 years is because it's so wild. We get 6 species of woodpecker just in the garden. Yesterday I saw a wolf in the snow on the forest edge up the hill behind me, but it was too far to get anything but a blurry blob of a photo.
One bad thing about where I live, though, is that it takes so long to get anywhere. Staré Hory is probably only a couple of hundred miles as the crow flies but it would take me at least 4 hours to get there...
Rock martens are actually called stone martens, or beech martens (the term I prefer). They're a pain in the proverbial... I can hear one thumping around in the attic as I type this, hunting the cute but extremely destructive edible dormice, shrews or yellow backed mice. If you really want to try your hand at identification through minor details, try telling the difference between Beech and Pine martens.








It sounds like you really get around!
I've been fortunate enough to have been up most of the dolinas in the Vysoké Tatry, as far as the Polish border on one occasion, having been granted permits to drive up the forestry roads and tracks and entrusted with the keys to the locked barriers. It is indeed bear country: on one memorable occasion, a large adult with fur that was almost orange, saw us from across the valley and attempted to hide behind a tiny pine sapling, with the effect that the sapling seemed to have a halo! We also found quite a few bear tracks and wolf droppings.
MJB
 

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