"The Beast from the East in Plympton?"

Last weekend after the wind had blown through I spotted an unusual tit in the backyard.  Good news is that it's back.  The most noticeable thing, as it was flying away was the rich chocolate hind crown and nape (like a Dipper's belly). The scapulars show a fair bit of variation from brown, through greyish to whitish fringing and a definite pale look to the secondaries..  It has a small neat bib, as expected for a Marsh Tit, which are regular garden visitors. The other features are more reminiscent of Siberian Tit, which I'm sure it is not. Is it possibly a Marsh/Siberian hybrid blown in by the storms, or just a very unusual plumage variation? poor pics, will try to get better.

Eds: Certainly an interesting bird. Chris' comments seem to sum the situation up well. Willow x Siberian Tit hybrids are well known eg https://birdingfrontiers.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/siberian-tit-x-willow-tit-hybrid/  However, given that their ranges barely overlap, Marsh x Siberian seems less likely. In any case as suggested above, the plumage details do not support a hybrid. Views welcome!

Posted March 10th, 2018 at 3:29 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News