I'm lucky to have one of the rarer Northumbrian species as a regular on my patch. The Willow Tit is a declining species but seems to be doing well locally having bred consistently over the last ten years. Some confusion may be involved with the Marsh Tit whose stronghold is the area in the Wansbeck valley west of Morpeth. I had a discussion recently with a follower of this blog from Whitley Bay who had some doubts on ID especially after an encounter further north. Basically, the Willow Tit has a mat cap whilst the Marsh Tit is glossy. Regular sightings make the difference obvious as the cap of the Willow perches on the head rather than the Marsh which is more round but the best ID is the call. Willow Tit offers frequent contact calls but often re-inforced by the warning chur, normally threefold.Marsh Tit gives a distinct per-chow call which I hope Richard may have on his records.
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