WILLOW TIT The story of the Willow Tit as a British bird is an interesting one. Until 1897, both the Willow Tit and its confusingly similar congener, the Marsh Tit, were originally thought to be one and the same, under the name of Marsh Tit. That was until German Ornithologists Ernst Hartert and Otto Klienschmidt realised that Willow Tits were being wrongly labelled as Marsh Tits within the drawers of skins at the British Museum. The year 1897 was also when two Willow Tit specimens were procured from a wood in Finchley, North London, sealing the deal for it to be officially added to the British list. However, confusion still reigned. For starters, Willow Tits are more likely to be found near water while the Marsh Tit is a denizen of broad-leafed woodlands. Both species look alarmingly similar, but can arguably be separated by the glossy black cap and neater bib displayed by the Marsh versus the duller black cap and larger bib of the Willow, pale patches along the secondaries worn by the Willow, and a pale spot at the base of the upper mandible of the Marsh Tit. By far the easiest way of telling is by call: the Marsh with its explosive ‘pichay’ and the Willow with its more hoarse, drawn out notes. Unfortunately, Willow Tits are in serious decline in the UK.