What is this bird?
Walking round my local reservoir I took this photo of what I believed to be a Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler, but on closer inspection when I got home I noticed that it didn’t have the thick yellow stripe around its eye, was more dumpy, and had a more orange bill. Ann Quayle, Barrow-in-furness, Cumbria
QLooking closely at this bird, we have, like you, narrowed it down to Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff. You’ve already pointed out the lack of a distinct eye-stripe or supercilium, which in itself would point us towards Chiffchaff, but plumage features can vary between individual birds, as can
Abill colour, so this isn’t conclusive. This bird’s cheek does look quite dark, displaying that eye ring quite well, which again points us towards a Chiffchaff. The clincher for us, though, lies in the primary wing feathers. They seem to be fairly evenly spaced, and don’t project back as far as we’d expect for Willow Warbler, so we’re pretty sure it’s a Chiffchaff.