HELP ME TO IDEN­TIFY THIS LOVELY WAR­BLER

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

While in Devon, I came across this war­bler con­stantly ‘fly­catch­ing’ along a tree line. I didn’t have my bins but I did have a bridge cam­era, but the prob­lem was the bird never stopped mov­ing! I did get the at­tached pho­tos though. To me, it looks like a Western Bonelli’s War­bler. We get them in Ex­tremadura, but up in the moun­tains, so I am not that fa­mil­iar with them. What do you reckon? I should say that I am colour blind and these sort of war­blers are not some­thing I am overly fa­mil­iar with. Ian Par­sons, Ex­tremadura

QYel­low-green war­blers can be dif­fi­cult to sep­a­rate even for ex­pe­ri­enced bird­ers, like Ian. These pho­tos [Ian sup­plied more], how­ever, are nice and clear, and there are sev­eral fea­tures on this par­tic­u­lar bird that do seem to be point­ing to­wards Western Bonelli’s War­bler as the cor­rect iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. For a start, there is that pale, clean, al­most silky un­der­neath, along with the bright rump and pale-edged ter­tials (that’s the in­ner wing feath­ers). How­ever, Western Bonelli’s War­bler usu­ally has a com­plete eye ring, and the one on this bird def­i­nitely seems to be bro­ken. This doesn’t count the species out as an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, though, as in­di­vid­ual birds can vary quite widely from stan­dard de­scrip­tions, and this may be such a vari­a­tion. Western Bonelli’s War­bler is quite a rare sight in the UK, and we haven’t seen any re­ports of one from the Ex­eter re­gion, but, like the eye ring that’s hardly con­clu­sive ev­i­dence against the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. So we’re go­ing to stick out our necks and say that un­less a war­bler ex­pert can tell us oth­er­wise, there is a pos­si­bil­ity that this is in­deed a Western Bonelli’s War­bler.

A

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