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Marsh Warbler Gosport Hampshire? (1 Viewer)

West End Birder

Well-known member
Bit of a debate going on, the video posted sounds like a Reed Warbler to me but as you know I am hopeless. Having said that the picture here http://www.goingbirding.co.uk/hants/show_photo.asp?photo_id=3890 does seem to show a longer primary projection perhaps (and the rump colour)?

I am not bothered what it is, but I am interested to see what the experts on here think and why, having just read the article in this month's Birdwatch*.


Rob S

*P55 has a very nice review of my book by the way!


Well-known member
Why is it not a Reed Warbler with that song?

At the begining of the video, the song contains a lot of imitations, which is usually a characteristic of Marsh warbler.
However, I agree with you: for me this is a Reed warbler.

Although it contains a lot of imitations, the delivery is too slow and not 'random' enough IMO for Marsh. The song also includes typical Reed stanza.

And visually, be it on the picture or on the video, I see nothing really suggestive of Marsh warbler.

I have a singing Reed warbler in my local patch that sounds quite similar to the subject bird (but with a little less imitations), it responded very well to Reed warbler's song used in playback and once on sight, looked like a typical Reed . A few days ago, a migrating Marsh was singing in a nearby bush: the difference in rythm and tempo was readily audible.

J Jones

Well-known member
Apparently Birdguides have confirmed it is a Marsh Warbler. Video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obi3HhJe2AM&feature=youtu.be

Why is it not a Reed Warbler with that song?


Not sure where you got the information that BirdGuides had confirmed this as a Marsh Warbler so just to set the record straight, we originally ran with this as a Marsh as reported on local websites and to us by observers on site. As soon as doubts started to occur and images were posted in our Iris galleries (seemingly depicting a Reed Warbler), we downgraded the bird to a possible. Finally, on hearing the song in videos posted on YouTube, we have now corrected the reports to Reed Warbler - which the bird is.


Matt Eade

Well-known member
I had a similar bird on Seaford Head, E. Sussex today. Heard a Reed to start of with, then several other notes depicting Marsh Warbler, and then it went a bit mixed. Thankfully, I have heard many Reed Warblers doing this and so was no real problem. Didn't see the bird, but no need to.

I feel there should always be a sense of caution when confirming such species on the south coast before news being put out. Basically if you can here 20 different species coming out of the same bush.....happy days.

All the best

lou salomon

the birdonist
Basically if you can here 20 different species coming out of the same bush.....happy days.

...and the fast rhythm mentioned by thibault in his post above. imitations from reed warbler aren't shot out like from a machine gun - as in marsh.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Well-known member
The debate is still going on, we are on 'dark alulas' now. Still sounds like a Reed to me. Can't someone trap it?!

Why trap it?

A procedure which may cause the bird distress shouldn't, in my view, be used solely to add ticks to lists. At worst, it may even die as a result.
The songs of these two species are relatively easy to separate. Thus far, the only recording of the song of this bird seems to have been firmly placed in the reed warbler camp. There are reports of the song mimicking all sorts of other species (and a car alarm) - it is to be hoped that those who've heard these apparent marsh warbler sounds will be able to record them.


Nick Smith

Member of the Staffordshire Bird Club
2009 - Otmoor Marsh Warbler

I spent ten hrs yesterday listening to a marsh wrb at Sammy's Point, Easington. I have singing reed wrbs on my local patch that I hear on a daily basis. That video is a reed wrb singing. Can discuss the appearance till the cows come home but doesn't alter the song

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