Mystery warbler from Tal Chhapar by Pooniaji

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Suresh C. Sharma

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Apr 15, 2011, 9:58:09 PM4/15/11
to Delhi Bird, birds-chandigarh, Dr P S Sangwan, surat singh poonia
A warbler from Tal Chhapar, 15 April 2011 by Pooniaji.
 
ID help requested.
 
Regards,
Suresh C Sharma
2p.jpg

Saurabh Sawant

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Apr 15, 2011, 10:34:08 PM4/15/11
to suresh...@gmail.com, Delhi Bird, birds-chandigarh, Dr P S Sangwan, surat singh poonia
Looks like Black-browed Reed Warbler. It's  a vagrant to these parts. This should be a very noteworthy record. Experts may shed some light.

Regards,
Saurabh

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Regards,
Saurabh Sawant
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Rohan Kamath

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:11:59 PM4/15/11
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I Agree with Saurabh on Black-browed reed warbler. A very interesting
find indeed... Waiting for more opinions...

-Regards,
Rohan

Abhijit Menon-Sen

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:16:30 PM4/15/11
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At 2011-04-16 08:04:08 +0530, masterm...@gmail.com wrote:
>
> Looks like Black-browed Reed Warbler.

It doesn't look like a Black-browed Reed Warbler. It doesn't look like a
reed warbler at all. It has a long forked tail, short undertail coverts,
and pale upperparts. Black-browed is a Moustached Warbler-like bird with
a short, broadly rounded tail, short wings, and dark legs. While it does
have a prominent pale supercilium, it has an otherwise quite plain face,
and does not have anywhere near as prominent a dark eyeline as this bird
seems to show. Its upperparts are also a richer brown, contrasting quite
strongly with its pale underparts.

I have no explanation for the black stripe on the head, but otherwise
this looks like a Sykes's Warbler (or perhaps Booted, not sure). You can
see the difference in the colour of the paler tarsi and darker feet. I'm
puzzled that the black extends with uniform intensity from the crown to
the tip of the beak. That coupled with the odd colour in other places
(e.g. the purple on the branches) makes me wonder…

Maybe the only way to solve this mystery is to look at the luminance
histogram. ;-)

-- ams

Suresh C. Sharma

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:25:09 PM4/15/11
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Thank you Ahijit for seeing so many details, which I cannot see even after your well noticed pointers.
 
What I notice from the picture is the strongly patterned head structure. Buffish white supercilium going surely much behind the eye and its contrast with the remarkable black lateral crown stripe is worthy of notice. Also I can see the black eyestripe.
 
Of course, there are so many buts and ifs.
 
Thank you for throwing some light which further confuses the ID of this bird.. Hoping more pix from Pooniaji.
 
Best,
Suresh
___

Suresh C. Sharma

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:27:35 PM4/15/11
to rohank...@yahoo.com, delhibirdpix
Thank you Rohan. A big 'shabashi' to Pooniaji.
Kind regards,
Suresh


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Abhijit Menon-Sen

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:29:07 PM4/15/11
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At 2011-04-16 08:46:30 +0530, a...@toroid.org wrote:
>
> I'm puzzled that the black extends with uniform intensity from the
> crown to the tip of the beak. That coupled with the odd colour in
> other places (e.g. the purple on the branches) makes me wonder…

I've attached two modified versions of the photograph.

2p-stretched.jpg is the original photograph lightened by moving the
midpoint as far left as it would go in the histogram. Note that the
weird purple colour corresponds exactly to the weird crown stripe.

Next, 2p-darkened.jpg is the same photo darkened by moving the midpoint
right until the leaves and branches looked a more plausible colour. That
makes the bird look much less weird too.

So I conjecture that this photograph was taken in poor light and made
brighter in post-processing, which exaggerated chromatic aberrations due
to noise in dark areas.

-- ams

Abhijit Menon-Sen

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:30:15 PM4/15/11
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> I've attached two modified versions of the photograph.

Argh. Now attached.

-- ams

2p-stretched.jpg
2p-darkened.jpg

Suresh C. Sharma

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:31:21 PM4/15/11
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It is possible Abhijit... could be a Blyth's Reed Warbler as well.. but the head pattern is striking. Besides, I am familiar with Pooniaji's over enthusiasm. :)
Thanks again,
Suresh

Abhijit Menon-Sen

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:37:15 PM4/15/11
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At 2011-04-16 09:01:21 +0530, suresh...@gmail.com wrote:
>
> It is possible Abhijit... could be a Blyth's Reed Warbler as well..

No, not Blyth's Reed, which has much longer undertail coverts.

-- ams

Rajneesh Suvarna

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:39:44 PM4/15/11
to a...@toroid.org, Saurabh Sawant, suresh...@gmail.com, delhib...@googlegroups.com, birds-ch...@googlegroups.com, Dr P S Sangwan, surat singh poonia
Superb deduction.

With traditional birding id techniques. Thanks for all the pointers
And with image forensics :) 

-- ams

Saurabh Sawant

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:40:58 PM4/15/11
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The tail seems longer but, the fork could be of moulting.
perhaps something like this. Although I don't observe much wear there.

I think the undertail coverts are rather longer and fluffy in Sykes's which resembles the Blyth's Reed Warbler with very long undertail coverts.
Yes, the legs confused me and still continue, but I though that must be what light played with us. :D

The richer brown upperparts I thought were lost while lessening the contrast a bit in this dark image shot in poor light.

We are so inconsiderate, blaming it all on the light. :p

Regards,
Saurabh



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Abhijit Menon-Sen

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Apr 15, 2011, 11:54:01 PM4/15/11
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At 2011-04-16 09:10:58 +0530, masterm...@gmail.com wrote:
>
> The tail seems longer but, the fork could be of moulting.

It can't be both moulting *and* longer, and it's clearly longer. Not
just that, but you can see the end of a very pointed wingtip, which is
inconsistent with the Black-browed Reed Warblers I spent a lot of time
observing in Kolkata last week. The angle is bad, but still.

> I think the undertail coverts are rather longer and fluffy in Sykes's
> which resembles the Blyth's Reed Warbler with very long undertail
> coverts.

No, Sykes's has distinctly shorter undertail coverts in proportion
compared to Blyth's.

> We are so inconsiderate, blaming it all on the light. :p

There are other reasons to doubt Black-browed Reed Warbler. Unlike
Blyth's, Black-browed is a reed-bed specialist. It's a short-winged
bird, unlikely to fly long distances. And Rajasthan is more than a
thousand kilometres further west of its known range, and I know of
no records (credible or otherwise) in between.

-- ams

P.S. I wonder if Sykes ever met Blyth. :-)

Saurabh Sawant

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Apr 16, 2011, 12:07:38 AM4/16/11
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I can see the similar weird dark patches in the left of the image.

"No, Sykes's has distinctly shorter undertail coverts in proportion
compared to Blyth's."

Sorry, I didn't mention 'compared to Black-browed.'
So Sykes's it seems. Yes, superb deduction, ams. :)


Regards,
Saurabh

Suresh C. Sharma

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Apr 16, 2011, 12:16:39 AM4/16/11
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We are so inconsiderate, blaming it all on the light. :p

Regards,
Saurabh

:)
AMS : 10 out of 10..
 
Thanks again.
 
Kind regards,
Suresh
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