Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Willow Chiff?

Not so many birds around today and I failed to find any Flycatchers. In the Freedown there was a large flock of feeding birds in the hedge, mainly Long-tailed Tits (20+), a few Blue Tits and Great Tits and several Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

If they are not calling or singing these two warblers can be a real problem to sort out. Despite the extremely good field guides I still think that they can be more similar than current literature indicates.

This is either a Willow Warbler or a Chiffchaff, it was easier for me as I could see the whole bird and it was calling.

Although it may not look like it this is a different bird and a different species.

If you get a good look at the feet and legs these are a really good clue to the identity.

These legs and feet belong to the other bird. I think that the bright light is shining on the left leg making it look paler than it did in the field.

This Willow Warbler has the yellow feet that are characteristic, and in the top picture it seems to have a slightly longer and paler bill. It gave the two syllable hu-weet call. It looks like an adult to me, as it is nowhere near as yell as many of the juveniles around.

Dark legs and no yellow on the feet of this Chiffchaff. It also constantly wagged its tail, the way Chiffchaffs do. The call is, to my ear, more strident and and only one syllable. The bill looks slightly smaller and darker than the Willow Warbler's in the second picture.

The majority of birds in the flock were Long-tailed Tits, this one seems to be having the equivalent of a bad hair day.

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