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Fleshy yellow legged and toed Chiffy, or a short-winged Willow Warbler NE.London? (1 Viewer)

KenM

Well-known member
Images not brilliant, taken through double glazing with reflections, if the former, then it's the palest leg/toed Chiffy that I've ever laid eyes on.

Cheers
 

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Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Ken,

a Willow Warbler for me too. Good head pattern for this species, strong bill with extensive pale/flesh lower mandible (I even thought about a Melodious Warbler in one picture), better colours than or Chiffchaff.
Maybe some moult issue? A quick look seems that P2 (and appears worn/faded) is longer than P3, which means that at least P3 is still growing (or is it to much wishfull thinking? Its a hard picture)

And more: a good example for a pitfall picture: I even thought that maybe more than one bird was envolved, but this might be explained by distortion caused by te window?
 
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KenM

Well-known member
Hello Ken,

a Willow Warbler for me too. Good head pattern for this species, strong bill with extensive pale/flesh lower mandible (I even thought about a Melodious Warbler in one picture), better colours than or Chiffchaff.
Maybe some moult issue? A quick look seems that P2 (and appears worn/faded) is longer than P3, which means that at least P3 is still growing (or is it to much wishfull thinking? Its a hard picture)

And more: a good example for a pitfall picture: I even thought that maybe more than one bird was envolved, but this might be explained by distortion caused by te window?

I'm still confused Alexander, here is another shot with a Blue Tit for comparison, to my eye it looks somewhat more diminutive and perhaps more Chiffy looking?

Cheers
 

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Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Ken,
thanks for the additional picture. While its true, that Willow is on average larger than Chiffchaff, individual variation outnumbers this in my experience. Willow seems often a longer bird to me, while Chiffchaff appears some kind of rounder, so Willow SEEMS larger in the field sometimes.
In the new picture, the Blue Tit seems much larger (=bigger) than the warbler, this shouldnt be so extreme appearent in either Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler.

Maybe you can post the picture 5 again, just an excerpt of the wing formula: for me the pale P2 (looking like a pale shadow at first I must admit) seems slightly longer than P3, and as P1 is visible (but hard to judge for someone with limited experience in this case), maybe a more experienced birder can jump in?
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Tbh these images don’t stand up to such forensic analysis (no offence Ken), so I’m wondering why it’s not a ‘normal’ WW in primary moult (or a recently (late) fledging?). Surely the size cf to the Blue Tit is down to perspective and fov?
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Deb,
so we both agree here: its a Willow Warbler and the size ratio "Blue Tit:Warbler" seems strange.
But: even after looking at picture 5 again, it looks that the wingtip is formed by P2 and the slightly shorter looking P3. If this is indeed the case (and could be confirmed by a picture with better resolution I asked for) than this is wrong for either (european ssp of) Chiffchaff or Willow. So I suspected that "at least P3 is still growing" (see post nr. 2), and therefore the wings and the PP is longer when primaries are fully grown in this bird.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
In other words Alex, a WW in primary moult, yes?

(Willow Warblers -f - can delay their moult until young have been reared, or suspend active primary moult (ie finish) until reaching wintering grounds or wait until 1-2 primaries are fully grown before dropping the next few outer primaries given the small window to moult all the pp before migrating... All of which plays havoc with any neat ideas of wing formula - on these images, and at this time of the year - I honestly can’t see anything to suggest this is anything other than a normal (female?) WW.

It’s probably worth noting the depth/height of the concrete sides of the birdbath: - clearly the sides nearest the camera are much deeper than the sides that the WW is standing on in the first images = equals perspective? The Blue Tit is nearer. Also, the water - sloping towards the right hand corner - clearly the far left edge of the birdbath is on a slight tilt and higher than the near edge - this is what I meant by perspective and what appears to be a narrow depth of field (sorry I said ‘fov’ in my previous post = typo)

I hear no Zebras here, only horses.

Sorry Ken to suggest you have a wonky birdbath (mine’s even worse, the Woodpigeons slowly slide out of it :-O)
 

KenM

Well-known member
Yes Alex and Deb, thanks for your input on this.

When first seen (alone on the bird bath rim) I was struck by how attenuated it looked (quite unlike Chiffy), first port of call on most warblers when seen for me is pp...this was obviously very short hence the thread. Clearly perspectives come into play and moult strategies, not being a particularly bright individual (for me) ruled out imm.WW, leaving just adult and unlikely Chiffy in play. Not being up to speed on the moult timing for adult WW and with such a short pp, I thought a dusting on BF might be of interest to all.

Cheers
 
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