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Reed warbler near Warsaw, Poland (1 Viewer)

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
This photo was taken on the 19th of August 2021. The bird was seen in a moderately extensive reedbed at a clay-pit lake. Surrounding habitat included some trees, with few bushes and no tall grass in the vicinity. I haven't recorded any calls. Only now did I notice an apparently shortish primary projection in the bird (the tip of its left wing forms a slight notch on the reed blade right behind the bird). It also had a rather flat forehead and a short supercilium that didn't extend beyond the eye-ring. Could it be a Blyth's reed warbler? Apologies for the photo quality (it was taken with a cell phone).

EDIT: Known reed warblers present at the site include great reed warblers, Eurasian reed warblers and icterine warblers, which might give you additional information about the habitat.
 

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dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Welcome to birdforum. I'm not sure that you would be able to clinch Blyth's reed from this image, as there isn't enough detail to assess the primaries - do you have any further images? Also, are you able to give the site location at all - my understanding is that Blyth's reed is that the species is limited to the eastern side of the country in low numbers (e.g. we found a total of 5 territories on a semi-dedicated trip back in 2016), but I've no idea if the species is more widespread now.
 

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
Given the data from eBird and Ornitho, the Blyth's reed warbler still seems to be rare in Poland. The place I visited isn't where one would expect to see one (here's a link to Google Maps and to the eBird hotspot, although I doubt it helps much). I am aware of the bird's rarity and hence my question. Unfortunately, other photos are not as good as the first one. Anyway, here they are:

EDIT: I believe one could reasonably rule out the great reed warbler (on size), the icterine warbler (on the underparts' colouration), and the sedge warbler & the aquatic warbler (most strikingly, these two have prominent stripes on the mantle), which leaves us with the Eurasian reed warbler, the marsh warbler and the Blyth's reed warbler. As far as these three are concerned, the marsh warbler would be rather unlikely in a wet reedbed surrounding a small peninsula jutting out well into a pretty reedy pond (itself a moorhen's breeding ground if it's anything to go by). Now, a Blyth's reed warbler is also said to be less associated with large bodies of water (don't know if it's true; never seen one), but I forgot to mention that there is a woods some 200 metres/500 feet away (which you can see on Google Maps; here's the very exact location of the sighting).
 

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01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
Incidentally, four days later I did record a bird call that was identified as a Blyth's reed warbler by BirdNET. All the same, I took it with a grain of salt because, to my untrained ear, it sounded much like a blackcap, which I recorded a half an hour later at the same site (I attach the other recording for comparison). Now that I think about it, these two soundbites do, however, differ.
 

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opisska

rabid twitcher
Czech Republic
Blyth's is still quite rare in Poland, but does occasionally occur around Warsaw. I think the photos are insufficient for ID, but I have this opinion even about most of my photos of the species :) The call doesn't sound like a Blackcap to me, but with tone deafness, I can't realiably tell - all my personal observations of Blyth's are singing birds, that's really, really obvious.

Also note that Marsh Warbler is absurdly numerous in some areas in Poland and then they simply don't care what is the "proper" habitat.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Only now did I notice an apparently shortish primary projection in the bird (the tip of its left wing forms a slight notch on the reed blade right behind the bird).
I'm afraid I find this a highly wishful interpretation of a low-quality (no offence) photo. My personal feeling is that such a thing cannot reliably be seen at all here - and, indeed, that the primaries cannot be seen well enough to make a judgement of any sort about the wing formula.
I suspect that you are well out on a limb with any ID for this bird.
As a general point - which I intend to be helpful for you - it won't normally be of assistance, either to you or to other members, to make substantial edits to posts 3-4 hours after their original posting: no one will receive notification of the changes, and those who have read the posts in their original form are liable not to notice that you have made additions and changes to them. No offence. Etc, etc. 👍🏻
 

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
The edit I made after four hours involved changing 'reedbeds' to 'reed beds' and back again; I added the more important stuff much earlier, but I do understand what you mean.
 

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
I might be reading too much into it, but, for past and future reference, here's what I see (there should be red, orange and yellow dots visible in the picture):

Interestingly, I was only able to notice a hint of the tail when I got to grips with the dotting.
 

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KenM

Well-known member
FWIW 01, I’ve heard Blyth’s once only, some twenty one years ago during October in central London.

The bird had been ID’d visually with the salient wing formula noted and had flown into a bush/tree area adjacent to a pedestrian walkway c20m away.

Where there were a group of men standing in conversation, with one giving an account of “interest” to the others and to my ear, a series of “tuts” ensued several times, which I thought was the response of the listeners?

It was only when we approached them and heard an increase of “tuts” that we realised it was the “irritated” Blyth’s Reed that was the culprit!

Your “first file” sounded spot-on to my ear, perhaps another visit with a camera might be of help.

Cheers
 

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
Your “first file” sounded spot-on to my ear, perhaps another visit with a camera might be of help.

Unfortunately, it's too late for another visit: the bird is long gone. I haven't found it at the site this year and have no high hopes. Thank you for the reply.
 

jalid

Well-known member
I would say that the bird could well have been Blyth's Reed, but it is impossible to be sure.

BRW call is quite similar to Blackcap, more similar to Lesser Whitethroat, even more similar to Sedge Warbler and still more similar to Marsh Warbler. I have lots of experience with all of these, and my ears are not that bad compared to other birdwatchers, and still I often have problems with these species.
 

01101001

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Poland
Assuming the lower left wing reconstruction (now drawn with a solid line because the spots look pretty messy) were correct, would it be possible to judge the relative length of the primary projection without knowing exactly where the tertials begin? I realise that many of you wrote it's quite a long shot anyway, but that was before I updated the photo, and I can't be sure if you were able to see what I marked in orange in this attachement, as I couldn't see it myself for some time. It's my last question, and I won't belabour the point any further.
 

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KC Foggin

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I might be reading too much into it, but, for past and future reference, here's what I see (there should be red, orange and yellow dots visible in the picture):

Interestingly, I was only able to notice a hint of the tail when I got to grips with the dotting.
I'm seeing red and yellow dots on the back of the bird. I had to enlarge it though to see them.
 

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