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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Willow or Marsh Tit

Many years ago I created a bird feeding station on the edge of the Shopping Centre I manage, as the Centre borders open countryside we have had all sorts visit it over the years, and it is an ideal escape when the stresses of the office become to much, or to take your lunch out and sit and watch.
In awful light this morning, grabbed the camera for a quick look at what was about, nice to see it so busy with lots of Tits, Robins, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird all the usual species I would expect to see. Whilst snapping away, a Tit came down to the feeders, and it was that age old dilemma, Willow or Marsh Tit. Now I am hedging my bets on a Willow Tit, but see what you think??

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And a snap of the resident Robin, and nice to see the Long Tailed Tits

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And this is our feeding area



7 comments:

  1. Beautiful, the birds are wonderful and well photos of the feeders. I think that is a Marsh Tit, you can tell by the bib.

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  2. I don't have the expertise to differentiate between the two and the RSPB 'identification of confusion species' left me more confused than ever http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/902/p/34071/229617.aspx
    So no idea which variety of Tit this is but the photos are fantastic as ever.

    However, my personal favourite is the long tailed Tit just because I think they are so beautiful - little blobs of pink fluff with overly long tails! They visit my garden feeders each day and I spend far too long watching them

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  3. It's a bit weird that we both blogged about the Kingfisher last week, and then we have blogged about feeding stations and long tailed tits today. Your pictures are brilliant. From Findlay

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  4. Brilliant close-ups Gary and I'm not sure. Did the bird call? - A sure fire solution.
    Try http://www.britishbirds.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Willow-Marsh-Tits.pdf

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  5. One thing for sure Gary, the images are as good as they can be for ID purposes but the differences are subtle between the two. Here's my take on it whilst avoiding getting too technical....

    If this was a Marsh Tit the white cheeks should become dusky behind the ear-coverts, this birds doesn't. Take another look at your top two images, the Willow Tit has a white wing-panel. It's OK to say one has a dull black crown whilst the other has a glossy one, but hey.... that's tricky, one has a slightly larger bib than the other, but hey....that's even trickier. Lifes much easier if these birds call/sing, but lifes never easy in these situations.

    Make your mind up time!

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  6. Excellent set of images from your feeding station Gary, what better way to unwind than to be entertained by the sites and sounds of the visiting birds?

    Super images of the Robin and LTT, the last one is a cracker!

    Now, Marsh or Willow? I reckon you're right with Willow Tit and I'm going solely on the (reportedly the most reliable way, apart from the song/call, of distinguishing the ID) fact that a Marsh Tit has a white mark on the upper mandible just below the nostril and in your photos there's no white mark visible....I hope I'm right!!...[;o)

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  7. I know that this is 3 years too late really but I want to chime in. The White mark that has been referred too on the upper mandible is a clear indication of Marsh Tit, however if it's not there, it isn't to say that it is not, so it's not a clear cut ID from that. However I do believe it to be a Willow tit nonetheless, due to the slightly more extended white cheek than you might find on a MT, and also the dull black cap, as opposed to the glossier black cap usually found on an MT. It does make it easier if you heard it calling, but who knows, it was three years ago!! I'd like to call it fashionably late...

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Thanks for dropping by, any comments you may have are greatly appreciated.
Gary