Fantastic reading on the ID of Willow and Marsh Tits, birds I personally find really difficult to ID without clear photos. I haven’t as of yet learnt the calls but the more you hear and can visually ID the easier it is to place calls to birds.
and other fine ‘garden birds’
Nice one- all almost all who had declared were right: it was a Marsh Tit. One of at least 2 coming to feeders right outside the kitchen window of our accommodation at Minsmere RSPB reserve (9-11 March). Good chance to check the features, and much discussed was the ‘new’ feature of pale spot at the base of the bill. This feature was very obvious on one and often hard to see on the other. Willow Tits have an all black bill with no pale bill spot. They called a fair bit and neither had an obvious pale panel over the secondaries as often seen on Willow Tit.
The ‘white spot’ feature…
… seems to be percolating through British birder consciousness. Some of us in the cottage new about it and others didn’t. In a nutshell: Marsh Tits have it, Willow Tits don’t. Aside of the white spot, Richard Broughtons’ studyplaces calls and song, and cheek pattern as the most reliable features for separating these 2 tricky species.
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