Category Archives: 18) Warblers, Crests, Wrens

Saharan versus Western Olivaceous Warbler

and the ID challenge of Western Tree Warblers

Following on from this post, seems worth exploring the subject a little further. The most likely ID of the Fuerteventura warbler seems to be of the Saharan Olivaceous Warbler. However without field notes and only photos to go on it’s a little tricky for the outside observer. I found it intriguing as I have never seen the taxon and kind of wondered what it might get called if it turned up in NW Europe? Would I know what it was?

With multiple taxa, the old Olivaceous Warbler group is tricky one to member/ get your head around. So here is a reminder of how it plays out following the split of Western and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers:

Western Olivaceous Warbler Iduna opaca (just the one taxa)

Eastern Olivaceous warbler Iduna pallida (several taxa, those in Western Palearctic region:)

pallida

elaeica

reiseri

Nick Watmough and Grahame Walbridge made helpful comments as well as Ricardo and Andrea HERE and Nick sent some very useful comparison shots of Western Olivaceous Warbler:

Hi Martin,

I see this bird is now on the rarebirdspain website as Saharan OW and probably with good reason. I suspect the bill structure (based judged on front on photo on RBS site) excludes Western OW – please find attached a couple of shots of Western Olivaceous Warbler taken in Morocco in May 2013 (actually no more than 50km from where we saw Saharan OW).  By chance they are taken from below and show the shape of long deep-based bill quite well.  To my mind Western OW is a bigger sturdier beast that either Saharan OW or my  recollections of eleiaca (which I assume  account for all UK records?), but as ever that is hard to judge from photos.

All the best, Nick

Western Olivaceous Warbler 'opaca', Morocco, May 2913. Nick Watmough

Western Olivaceous Warbler ‘opaca’, Morocco, May 2913. Nick Watmough

Western Olivaceous Warbler 'opaca', Morocco, May 2913. Nick Watmough

Western Olivaceous Warbler ‘opaca’, Morocco, May 2913. Nick Watmough

Grahame Walbridge commented:

“The bird does not look anywhere near strong-billed enough for opaca. Lower mandible colour also looks wrong, should be entirely yellow. Pity there are no plan views (above or below) of the bill which would nail it for me.

Put simply it doesn`t look like a Western and combination of upperpart tone and lack of wing panel eliminate elaeica. By a process of elimination it must be Saharan (reiseri), though I am very uneasy at using this method in arriving at an ID! Probably safer to say “in all likelihood its a Saharan” or, something similarly tentative (unless more info forthcoming on field appearance).”

 

to compare with

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

 

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

apparent Saharan (Eastern) Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida reiseri, Fuerteventura, June 2014. Juan Sagardia

Olivaceous Warbler, but is it…

Eastern or Western?

Martin Garner

Juan Sagardia sent these photos from a couple of weeks ago. They were taken on Fuerteventura on the Canary Islands. This bird was a little over shadowed by a certain Abyssinian Roller  and also an apparent Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler.

I have seen not seen Western Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna opaca). The question is whether this individual is a Western Olly, or a ‘Western…. Eastern’. That is to say, the reiseri form of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida reiseri), which occurs in NW Africa (close to /overlapping? with Western Olivaceous).

No information on dipping tail movement (present in Eastern Olivaceous, absent in Western Olivaceous). Opinion from those who know the subject welcome. Not easy!

 

!cid_B4E74C2B-06B3-4C27-8CD8-1D5DC8E52F54@lan

!cid_E69DFE0E-6296-4A83-BCC0-51E1AA9FAD62@lan!cid_3C44CC88-1B98-4329-BF40-4544E5693AFE@lan

and in case you missed it!

 

A couple more of Juan’s shot of the stunning Abyssinian Roller and that increasing familiar celebratory X men stand! :). All photos Juan Sagardia. See his Facebook Page.

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Abyssinian Roller on the Canaries

First for Spain and Europe

Juan Sagardia sent these superb photos yesterday with this comment:

 

Coracias abyssinicus in Fuerteventura

A specimen discovered in the Barranco de la Torre in Antigua on the island of Fuerteventura by Alain Pataud on June 92014.
It may be the first event of this sort to Europe.
We talked with zoos and none has ever had this species.
In the same place there was also a possible Phylloscopus orientalis. See what you think.
I have attached photos of the two species of yesterday (13th June 2014).
Best regards
Juan
More info on Rare Birds in Spain

!cid_36099868-A373-4AD0-8F05-09ECDEBA8BF4 !cid_D2C62EC4-79CC-4939-AEAE-20BD61D701A0 !cid_574E7A9F-F9B1-45D8-94B0-ED2B352AA4A0

and an apparent  Balkan Warbler (aka Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler). Waiting to find out if it called….

!cid_DF3329AC-7086-4089-A071-ECA6FF993F34 !cid_2BF95586-1742-4D30-BACC-8AFB4E996819

all photos above by Juan Sagardia

Siberian Chiffchaffs in Alaska

3rd record for N. America. Or have there been 4 now?

with Paul Lehman

Paul passed on these photos and comment from Bob Dittrick

“On June 9th 2014 a group of Colorado birders found another Chiffchaff in the boatyard at Gambell. Here are a couple of photos I got.”

Paul has special interest as this appear to be the 3rd record for the USA. Paul found both the first and second records in spring 2012 and autumn 2013 on Gambell.

All 4 Records

All appear from the photos to be Siberian Chiffchaffs ‘tristis’.

Have a look. Here are photos of all 4 records, all on Gambell, Alaska the first was not (yet) been accepted:

9th June 2014

Siberian Chiffchaff, Gambell, Alaska, 9th June 2014. Bob Dittrick

Siberian Chiffchaff, Gambell, Alaska, 9th June 2014. Bob Dittrick

Siberian Chiffchaff, Gambell, Alaska, 9th June 2014. Bob Dittrick

Siberian Chiffchaff, Gambell, Alaska, 9th June 2014. Bob Dittrick

I asked Paul about the previous records:

Martin,

Actually, I found the two previous birds there (in spring 2012 and fall
2013), including the USA’s first, so not awful that I missed this
one–although now I no longer have seen ALL of North America’s individuals!

 22nd-23rd September 2013.

SICHIFF 3B crop 092213 CI SICHIFF 1B crop 092213 CI

 

 6th-7th June 2012.

Photos below by Kevin Zimmer

Zimmer Phyllosc 1 Zimmer Phyllosc 4

 

30th September – 3rd October 2011.

Attached are the only two usable photos of the ‘original’ Chiffchaff
photo’d by Peter Scully at Gambell from 30 Sep-3 Oct 2011. Sure does
look like a Chiffchaff, and the second photo strongly suggests short
primary extension. It would be a first for North America. Now that we have three others, I wonder if it should be reconsidered…..

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Answers to Bird Sound Quiz

Thanks to all those who had a go with this little quiz posted last weekend. Hope you enjoyed the challenge :). Some were easy than others…

Hidden songster can be especially tricky but we dare not ignore them!

Here are the answers:

Icterine Warber

at Spurn in early June 2012. Can you hear the ‘squeaky toy motif or as one friend put it: Think children’s programme Sooty and Sweep- the noise which Sweep made!

Marsh Warbler

at Flambrough in early June 2013. How about that BLue Tit mimic at the end. Th ultimate songster, with over 200 species recorded as being imitated by Marsh Warbler, in one case over 90 species mimicked by just one individual.

Garden Warbler

at Flambrough in May 2014. Bit of practice needed to distinguish the more melodic songs of Blackcap and Garden Warbler. This was almost impossible to see. lacks the ‘little diddle’ ditty of Blackcap (which I can’t put into words!)

 

Common Chiffchaff

at Flambrough in May 2014. Not an easy one. This bird is paired in South Landing this summer and the male I think calls very loudly and almost Chaffinch-like.

 

Test Yourself Bird Song

Hidden Warblers of late May/ early June

Martin Garner

Just for fun

Here are 3 singing warblers. All recorded on the East Yorkshire coast in late May/ early June. All identified on song. All 3 almost impossible to see. What species are they?

A fourth ‘bonus ball’ is at the end:  a calling bird- same time of year. What species is it?

Hope you have fun with it and learn as I have :)

Martin

Summer Warbler Mystery One

Summer Warbler Mystery Two

Summer Warbler Mystery Three

Summer Bird Mystery Four

 

 

Pale Grasshopper Warbler and identifying eastern birds

straminea or no?

Peter Alker

The identification and occurrence of Eastern Grasshopper Warblers in Western Europe is a subject which still seems in its infancy. Here is another contribution and a fascinating looking bird in Wigan, Greater Manchester. And some of us remember well the Black-faced Bunting which Peter found…

Hi Martin,

I wondered if you could give me your opinion on a Grasshopper Warbler that I caught recently (25th April 2014). It was extremely pale as you can see and to put it simply I don’t know if it could be a contender for straminea or if it could be just an exceptionally and unusually pale naevia. There is very little in the way of photos on the web and certainly nothing quite as olive-grey as my bird. I have read the paper from the BBRC files and previous posts on Birding Frontiers and only eastern birds seem to have grey forms.

I have caught a number of Groppers this spring and most have been the normal olive or olive brown variety but this bird made me check it was actually a Gropper as it looked so different. I am now aware of the structural difference that may exist in a few examples but there is nothing to help us there. The wing length was 64mm so it wasn’t particularly small

I have my own blog and you can view that here  http://two-in-a-bush.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/what-gropper.html

What do you think?

Kind Regards, Peter Alker

 

Over to you guys. It’s a remarkable looking bird which would presumably be quite eye-catching in the field. Below the first photos is an ‘ordinary’ Grasshopper Warbler (also on Peter’s blog). All the other shots are of this pale, short-winged bird. All photos by Peter. For more see his blog >>> HERE <<<

'normal' Grasshopper Warbler. 20th April 2014 Peter Alker

‘normal’ Grasshopper Warbler. 20th April 2014 Peter Alker

All photos below of pale Grasshopper Warbler, 25th April 2014, Wigan, Greater Manchester by Peter Alker

Z019219 Z019219 Z019219 front view Z019219

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