Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Confusing Corsican Warblers

Novice birdwatchers often complain about how confusing it is to identify UK warblers.  For instance, many find the songs of the Reed Warbler and the Sedge Warbler indistinguishable, while others cannot tell the song of a Blackcap from that of a Garden Warbler.  Hopefully, this is something I can help you with during the spring term.  Meanwhile, if an olive-coloured warbler isn't singing or calling they want to know how to differentiate a Chiffchaff from a Willow Warbler.  If they see a small brown warbler in the spring they are often at a loss how to identify it.  These are all points I tackle during my classes, and if we do come across a warbler I will be able to identify it for you, if it is singing or I obtain a good enough sighting.  However, I have never been birdwatching out of the UK, so you only have to travel as far as Corsica before the whole situation becomes a great deal more difficult and confusing.

Maurice Gordon recently had a holiday in Corsica (late July/early August), and peeking out the bedroom window he was able to observe several brownish warbler species feeding on figs in the garden.  These photos have been shown to a group of experienced UK birders, and they have come up with likely identifications for them, but even so none of the likely birds is 100% definite.  If you happen to be a lot more familiar with Mediterranean species, please let me know the correct identification of the following warbler species.
All photos (c) 2015 Maurice Gordon
Let's start with the most colourful species in the garden.
These aren't warblers at all, but are Citril Finches
 Possible female Sardinian Warbler?
 Possible Female Spectacled Warbler?
 Not sure!
 Possible Garden Warbler?
 Possible Juvenile Sardinian Warbler?
 Possible Juvenile Sardinian Warbler?
 Possible Juvenile Sardinian Warbler?
 And now for some of the spectacular insects in Corsica.
Corsican Grayling
 Grasshopper Species
 Corsican Heath
 Two-tailed Pasha
 Purple Hairstreak
 Red-veined Darter
As you can see I won't be taking any birdwatching groups to the Mediterranean any time soon!  I would have to start from scratch there myself!  If you do go birdwatching in Corsica, especially at this time of year, good luck!  Thank goodness warblers are A LOT EASIER in the UK!

No comments: