I drove on to the Holy Ground lane and just as I got out of my car I came across this Acro feeding busily in the willows by the galvanised iron gate. It was difficult to get any detail on the bird as it moved around in fairly thick cover. However on the basis of the few shots I got in fading light I was quite happy that the bird is a juvenile Reed Warbler. The main reasons for thinking this were the long primary projection, the buffy rump, undertail coverts and flanks and it lacked the short bill that I'd expect for Blyth's Reed.
This is where I got confused. According to some of the on-line details I checked, the emargination on P2 for Reed should be in line with the tips of the secondaries and below the tips of the secondaries for Marsh. I cropped the above two shots to see where the emargination is and to me it would appear to be below the tips of the secondaries.
|Not easy to tell in this photo but the P2 emargination would appear to sit below the secondary tips|
|Emargination on P2 seems below the line of the secondaries|
So I have several questions;
Can juvenile Marsh Warblers appear buffy?
Is Marsh likely this late in the autumn?
Is the bill right for Marsh - looks a little large to me.
Two final points I might add, firstly the posture looked more 'Reedy' to me. Secondly, the bird was pretty quiet but did give the odd soft tick or tchek but then again I think most unstreaked Acro's do that anyway.
Comments and thoughts welcomed!