Friday, July 17, 2020

Too Good To Be True

After another week of rain and rubbish weather we hoped that today’s forecast of a decent morning would be accurate. 

On the drive towards Oakenclough a hint of sun broke the early clouds. At 0630 roadside trees hardly stirred. This was all too good to be true. And so it proved.  For the next four hours Andy and I dodged periodic drizzle and showers that blew in from the west until we packed in at 1030 when light rain turned to a heavy wetting shower. 

Had the sun stayed around longer we felt sure that our catch would have been higher as despite the cool showers and grey skies, there seemed to be good numbers of birds moving through the area. Between the drizzly showers came post-fledging parties of Nuthatch, Chaffinches, titmice and Swallows. One of these moments brought in a Hobby that gave a rapid fly past before heading south east and out of sight. A birder who lives not far away reports seeing a Hobby every day of the week. 

Given the stop-start nature of proceedings we were quite pleased to finish with 28 birds of 13 species – 24 juvenile birds of the year and 4 adults - 8 Willow Warbler, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Coal Tit, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Treecreeper, 2 Great Tit and singles of Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Goldcrest and Garden Warbler. 

Pictures below - all taken at ISO800/1600 in poor light yet again. Whatever happened to summer? 


Coal Tit 


Willow Warbler


Note how the outline shape of the Chiffchaff wing differs from the Willow Warbler. The Chiffchaff wing is shorter and rounder with primaries 3,4 and 5 of similar length. Primaries 3 and 4 of a Willow Warbler wing are longer than primary number 5.

The sixth primary feather of the Chiffchaff is partially emarginated whereas the equivalent feather of the Willow Warbler is not emarginated. 

Wing of Chiffchaff

 Wing of Willow Warbler

The differences are easier to see from the drawings in my 1984 dog-eared edition of "Svensson". But the facts remain the same in 2020.


Willow Warbler

 More news and views soon from Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Eileen's Blog and Anni's Blogspot.


italiafinlandia said...

Yet the series of beauties you pictured is awesome!
All the best for the upcoming weekend!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Phil I am sweltering here on the I.O.W!! Even at this time it is so hot (7.15pm). Thanks for explanation between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Stay safe adn have a great weekend.

Ella said...

Your post is great!
Do you really hold all those little birds in your hand?
Thank you for explanation, that was a nice lesson!
Have a nice weekend!

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Thank you for these wonderful photos of the birds and information about them.
Stay safe and have a beautiful weekend, Elke

Anu said...

Hello Phil. Interesting post. The differences between the Chiffchaff and Willow warbler are small when you look at them in the wild. Fortunately, they sing in different ways.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil

Beautiful photos and birds. I only see a Treecreeper or we call them Brown Creepers in the winter months. I love the cute Coat Tit and the Goldfinch. The last two birds look a like to me. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend.

Mae Travels said...

Good luck with better weather next week. Somehow we have mostly enjoyed sunny weather on our trips to England, though evidently you have a very rainy climate.

Nice birds.

be well... mae at

Adam Jones said...

A fascinating look at the different wings of the Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. The weather has been awful here all week too, bar the odd hour or two in the evenings.Certainly not conducive to birding or ringing. I have my fingers crossed for next week. It's currently looking a little better. Hope you can get out.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I always love the info, diagrams and photos that help us learn more about birds. Hope you have a good weekend! It's hot and humid here but I got out in nature this morning...just because I needed to get outside!

Jean said...

Sorry you aren't getting any good summer weather. Hopefully, the sunshine will find you next week. Interesting about the subtle differences in the warbler and chiffchaff wings. Great photos! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far!

RedPat said...

I love the Coal Tit and your drawing really helped a lot!

Anni said...

Today, I can't pick a favorite. All so very attractive...and your numbers even with weather not so good, are impressive. It's always a learning experience here...and much appreciated.
Thanks so much for coming by I'd Rather B Birdin this week and linking in!

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post Phil and I love your wing descriptions. I am struggling to keep up so if I am quiet for a few weeks you know why. The garden is very time-consuming!!!! Take care. Have a good day Diane

Karen said...

Quite a variety of birds!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Very attractive birdies and I love the descriptions

Stevenson Q said...

My dear friend Phil, Happy new week! I told myself while carefully admiring the birds (Oh the Chiffchaff and that Willow Warbler looks soooo identical and then I scrolled next and found your differentiation and I very much thank you for it. the colors look so identical but the feathers do look very different. I really admire your sharpness on birding. I saw a medium sized bird last week on my garden and it was so beautiful! As always I always thought about you whenever I see birds everywhere :)

Have a great new week Phil!

Wally Jones said...

It seems the birds weren't minding the weather too much, based on your collection numbers. Hopefully, next trip the sun will remain with you a bit longer.

We will be happy to send you some of our summer as we seem to have plenty of it! Although, beware, it may come with more steamy heat and humidity than you might care for.

Our woods have gone a bit quiet in the past few days. Likely due to parents teaching youngsters to keep a low profile when two-legged creatures are roaming around. Some species are also going through a molt which will cause them to be very quiet since they would have trouble flying away from predators.

My records indicate we can expect "fall" migration to actually begin almost any time now. Fully expect to see an American Redstart or Black-and-White Warbler next week. We'll see. Meantime, the Swallow-tailed Kites are grouping up in preparation for their trek to South America.

Have a great new week, Phil! We will, too.

NCSue said...

The coal tit reminds me a bit of our chickadees - perhaps they're related somewhere along the line.
Thanks so much for sharing at

carol l mckenna said...

Awesome macro shots of our 'feathered friends' ~ ^_^

Live each moment with love,
A ShutterBug Explores

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh dear! The weather up North is not quite the same as down South!!!
We've managed some nice days out - I'll do my best to sort you out some summer sunshine :)

But I did enjoy your photographs, a good variety.

All the best Jan

Veronica Lee said...

Splendid series of bird captures as always, Phil!

Happy Tuesday!

Lady Fi said...

Outstanding shots!

Fun60 said...

I am surprised you are getting such poor weather as it sunshine everyday here in the Southeast. My poor garden is forever thirsty. Great photos as ever.

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