Help with bird identification.


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Help with bird identification.

  • Last summer i was unable to identify a bird, here are the details. Location, Shropshire Union Canal, near Nantwich, Cheshire. The bird was Robin sized, slightly darker brown than a Robin. It was in the undergrowth at the bottom of a hedge a few yards from the tow path. It was skulking about and making what i can only describe as a "whirring" noise. The bird soon disappeared when i approached. Can anyone help, please. Regards. Tom.
  • Hi Tom, not a lot to go on. I suspect it would have been an alarm call as you approached but of what. I'm not sure what a whirring noise sounds like. Did it sound anything like this?

  • That would be my guess too, TJ.

  • Thanks, TJ & Robbo. The sound the Eurasian Wren makes is similar to what i heard. I thought at the time the bird could be a Cetti's Warbler, it looked similar, not sure if a Cetti's makes a "whirring" sound or if they are ever as far north as Cheshire.

  • Tom A
    not sure if a Cetti's makes a "whirring" sound or if they are ever as far north as Cheshire.

    I've only ever heard the song of a Cetti's. However I've done a search on the Xeno-canto website and found what is described as an alarm call. Does this sound any closer? The behaviour you describe would fit with a Cetti's

    Marco Dragonetti, XC345501. Accessible at

    PS I'm not sure if Cetti's are seen that far north either. There may be other possibilities like the alarm calls of Sedge or Reed Warblers given the location.

  • Tony, many thanks. This is exactly what i heard, what threw me was the distribution map for Cetti's Warbler is many miles south of Cheshire. Must learn to trust my instincts... LOL! Kind regards. Tom.

  • There are Cetti's in and around Sheffield Tom which will be just as far North as you are.

  • Cheers, Alan.



  • Glad we cracked it, Tom. It just shows how birds are adapting to climate change. Great White Egrets colonising the UK - saw one in Cumbria before Christmas and many more Chiffchaffs overwintering.

  • Yes, four years ago, during the Big Garden Bird Watch, a female Blackcap landed on my garden fence, and was promptly seen off by the Sparrows.  So, as you say, some species are overwintering, making the dark winter the days a bit more colourful.

    Regards, Tom