Many thanks to all those who replied to my
I really appreciate the information provided.
It made feel a little less
stupid when others said they also had difficulty splitting
Fairy and Tree Martins and were looking forward to the
"blowing rasberries" , "Short churing call" , "farty noises"
TM-call "more continuous and not particularly distinctive
"Bright or clean white" , "finer"
"off clean" , "dirty looking white" , "off cream" , "grey
Here are the replies....
1 I don't have any objective tips on martin ID - but I can say they
definitely fly differently (DA)
2 Like you
say, if you don’t get to see the crown, I don’t think there’s any definitive
rule one can use for separating Tree and Fairy
Fairy Martin’s familiar short churring call is unique though – the Tree Martin
doesn’t have it. That’s reliable.
it’s worth, when I look at them I find the Fairy Martin to be a cleaner looking
bird with a whiter rump, and a little finer too - the Tree Martin is just that
bit chunkier. There is nothing like the experience of seeing the two species
together to test this sort of thing out. If you can apply this sort of thing
repeatedly, you’ll find it will either work for you, or it won’t.
styles of id do work for different people when you get into these somewhat
might be people out there who can talk about the difference in the blues – but I
3 Try by sound. Many years ago Andy Burton told me to listen
to the "farty" noises made by the Fairys. It really helps!
4 What about rump colour. I think that one has a
much whiter rump (one clean white while the other is off cream) than the
5 I generally find that the TMs are grey underneath and the
FMs white, rump the same. The head colour is hard to to see and both difficult
on a grey day. (CB)
6 I find that the most
obvious visual difference, apart from the head, is the rump - which is a bright
or "clean" white in Fairy Martins and a "dirty" white in Tree Martins. This
difference can be quite marked in good viewing conditions.
I also found
that after learning the calls, life suddenly became much easier and I no longer
had to peer for ages at the birds' heads as they zoomed around above me! To my
ears, the Fairy Martin sounds as if it is blowing little raspberries, whereas
the Tree Martin has a more continuous and not particularly distinctive
twittering call. (CP)
7 Someone has probably already
given you this tip but I find the white rumps the best thing to go off. Fairy
have very clean, bright white rumps (usually!) & Tree's have slighty dirty
looking white rumps. (MA)
8 Around my place I record
all flying martins as Tree Martins because all the stationary ones I have seen
here have been that species.
Thanks again, for
these clues...when the dust settles, I will request help on some other species
that continually frustrate
in this neck of the woods advice like this only can be obtained from
Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW