MARSH TIT (Parus palustris)

Mésange nonnette

Despite its name this is a woodland bird, favouring oak woods and riverine forests, but aslo found in mixed woods up to 1000m and beyond. A very active "busy" bird it is very difficult to distinguish from the Willow Tit by eye, but is readily picked out by ear because of its very clear, disyllabic, explosive "pit-choo" call. This can have several variants, here is a compilation of two different recordings - the first call is what I would say is the "classic" and the second seems to have three syllables in it and is more complex, you can also hear the second bird following the call with a quick "churr" noise:

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What I call the "classic" above is actually quite complex in shape but the "choo" is a very strong note descending from about 8Khz to 3Khz in a few milliseconds - it has a sort of hockey-stick shape to it:

For comparisons sake here on the same scale is the second variant from the above sequence where you can actually see the three syllables and the little "churr" thrown in almost as an after-thought !

The song is not elaborate but is a series of clear whistles strung together in rapid succession:

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But a look at the sonogram shows that in fact these song notes are very much like the "hockey-stick" part of the call, only a little lower in pitch and with a faster delivery:

These two deliveries - the song and the call - can be quickly interchanged with each other. One March day I found that I had wandered into a battle ground where two territories came together, or maybe it was two testosterone loaded males battling over the same patch:

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