Saturday, 26 October 2013

Radde's Warbler - Titchfield Haven October 2013

You can image my surprise when I got the call this morning to say that we would be ringing at the Haven, I had looked at the weather last night and it looked as if it would be far too windy. Fortunately the winds were from the south-west and therefore much of the ringing area was sheltered. You can image my even greater surprise when one of the birds we trapped was a Radde's Warbler, the first to be ringed at the Haven and only the 3rd for Hampshire. Having spent several hours trying to see the Andover bird, only to get frustratingly brief views, it was a real treat to get the opportunity to look at one close up.  

Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi - First year Titchfield Haven

In the hand the bird appeared smaller than it did in the field, but the most striking features were the broad and long supercilia, sturdy bill, the very bright yellow underparts and the yellowish-pink legs.

Radde's Warbler - Titchfield Haven

The upperparts were a warm olive brown colour with little contrast between the rump and tail. The brightness of the underparts, very pointed tail feathers and lack of abrasion on the primary tips were all evidence of this bird being a first year. 

Bright yellowish underparts and rich-buff under tail coverts

The wing point was formed by the 3rd, 4th and 5th primaries, and interestingly the 4th and 5th primaries seemed slightly longer than the third. This is contrary to Svensson which suggests that the wing point for Radde's is formed by the 3rd and 4th primaries and occasionally the 5th. However, the wing point of dusky warbler, the most likely confusion species, is formed by the 4th and 5th primaries. Clearly this area needs more research, maybe that is one for the next version of Svensson!

Open Wing of Radde's Warbler

Given the generally windy overnight weather conditions, it was not surprising that we didn't catch many birds, in fact we finished the session with less than 10 new birds. But it was definitely a case of quality not quantity.


  1. Hi Trevor, wow, what a treat - you guys must have been thrilled when this one turned up !!!!
    Miss the ringing but love catching up with your blog :-) Dawn

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