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"Eastern" Garden Warbler?, Worcs 10/11/17 (1 Viewer)

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
This first winter Garden Warbler has been present at Upton Warren NR, Worcestershire from the 7th to 10th November, the latest ever record for the site.

As is often with extremely late records of migrants in Britain, thoughts have turned as to whether this could potentially be of the eastern subspecies woodwardi. Can it be safely identified out of range in the field and if so, is this one?

Photos courtesy of Vern Wright.


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Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member

Firstly your bird looks in rather poor condition with feather loss in the lores and around the eyes (lacks white 'lids') and with what appears to be a small growth at the base of the bill.

IMO there is nothing to suggest woodwardi which I understand is both greyer above and whiter below i.e less saturated in brown/olive/buff tones than western population. It is also longer-winged which not much help here. In short see no reason why its not a rather worn/bleached individual which you might expect so late in the season.

Differences are clinal so I can't imaging any committee would consider them diagnosable in the field out of range.

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Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Thanks Graham - I don't think anyone had seen any features in the field that did suggest woodwardi but with a lack of experience of that subspecies (and first winter Garden Warblers this late in the year generally) I thought it was worth posing the question to those more experienced.

Would agree that it doesn't look 100% although it has been happily flycatching and feeding on berries throughout its stay.
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