The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.

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8 years 1 month ago #13071 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
As a moderator of this board I'd be surprised if you allowed such photos - I was amazed I got away with my mating Pin Tailed Whydah shots! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

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8 years 1 month ago #13072 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
That was touch and go although I think more on the part of the Whydah if you ask me <!-- s:rotfl: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/rotfl.gif" alt=":rotfl:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:rotfl: --> <!-- s:banghead: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/banghead.gif" alt=":banghead:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:banghead: --> <!-- s:bouncy: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bouncy.gif" alt=":bouncy:" title="Enthusiastic" /><!-- s:bouncy: -->

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8 years 1 month ago #13073 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
Doug, you are hereby enrolled as an honorary member of Dave Shedman's Institute for Low Quality Humour!! <!-- s:rotfl: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/rotfl.gif" alt=":rotfl:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:rotfl: -->

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8 years 1 month ago #13074 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
I thank you most kindly and should introduce you to a few birders that can take the quality level of humor on a day's birding to such a level, amoeba's would have to duck <!-- s:rotfl: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/rotfl.gif" alt=":rotfl:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:rotfl: -->
I am still in training.

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8 years 1 month ago #13075 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
Here is another interesting idea.

Psycho bird ID vs psycho acoustics.

I was once told a story by a friend of mine who is a musician and was working with one of South Africa's top music producers. They were busy with a particular song and the producer said that the piano was a bit too low in the mix and he slid the fader up to turn up the piano and looked at this friend of mine and said "Doesn't that sound better?". That was until this friend of mine pointed out the fact that they were listening to the final mix down track and the sliding of the fader up could have no effect on the volume of the piano but to a world class music producer, in his mind he heard it as louder even tough there was no actual change. He called it psycho acoustics.

There is another feature that supposedly tells Eurasian Reed-warbler from African Reed-warbler. Slope of the forehead. When you do not have the two birds next to each other to compare and the bird is hoping around in a reed bed or the top of a tree, I am not sure, like wing projection that forehead slope is a reliable feature for ID of a warbler. I have found before that when comparing photo after photo of very similar waders and they talk about thickness of bill base that eventually psycho ID takes over and you start to see things that are not always there.

For me the best is where, even if you have a difficult to see feature, I like ID that is based on easy and tangible differences.
Take Green vs Wood Sandpiper.....
Some sources quote the degree of extension of eye stripe through the eye and teh relative amount of speckling.
Rather look for the dark underwing coverts and 3 very broad tail bars of green sandpiper vs 4 or more finer tail bars and lighter underwing coverts of wood sandpiper.

It would be interesting to see if any birders use very subtle features such as forehead slope etc to tell birds apart?

For that same reason, many sources claim that again Little Stint and Red-necked Stint are inseperable in the field visually in winter plumage. In hand measurements or call are teh only way to tell them apart.

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8 years 1 month ago #13077 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
Paul Simon put it much more succinctly in 'The Boxer': "Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest".

But I agree, I'm sure it happens a lot, particularly with me. Having such a small list I can sometimes be over-eager to get lifers and I'm sure I manage to convince myself that I've seen or heard something purely because it would be a lifer. It happened recently at Roodeplaat when I was telling a member of Wits bird club that I had just seen some Pygmy Geese. When I showed him my photos on the camera he informed me they were White Faced Ducks, which was not a lifer for us, though Pygmy Goose would have been. My books were back in the car so I hadn't checked and I was just going from vague recollections of what a Pygmy Goose looks like, but I was so keen to get another lifer I had myself convinced that's what they were.

Mind you, it can happen the other way too. At Rondebult, a guy who was just leaving one of the hides as we arrived told us he'd seen a Grey Heron fly into the reeds to the right of the hide and was fairly sure it was still there. Five minutes later a large bird flew out from that area and I snapped away as it flew off. When I posted a pic of it here as a Grey Heron I was politely informed that it was a Black Crowned Night Heron, which was a lifer for us. Because we'd been told there was a Grey Heron in there, we were sure what we saw was a Grey Heron.

Birding - it's as frustrating as it's rewarding!

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8 years 1 month ago #13097 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: The warbler issue rears its ugly head again.
The jury has returned its verdict and the result is, I'm not going to tick this, much as I would like to as it would increase our lifelist and take our garden list to 37. Funnily enough, it was a Black Cuckoo that convinced me not to tick the warbler. I could hear the Black Cuckoo calling loud and clear from a tree fairly close to me, and I saw a brief flutter of black wings, followed a few minutes later by a brief glimpse of a dark coloured bird flying out of the tree. I know it almost certainly was the Black Cuckoo but since I didn't see it clearly, I wasn't prepared to tick it just on the call and the brief glimpses. If I wasn't prepared to tick the cuckoo, then I can't, with a clear conscience, tick this warbler. <!-- s:cry: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cry.gif" alt=":cry:" title="Crying or Very sad" /><!-- s:cry: --> <!-- s:banghead: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/banghead.gif" alt=":banghead:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:banghead: -->

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