The title could be misinterpreted, but it is a birding term normally shortened to LBJ’s ( nothing to do with the American president). Lots of birds are small and predominantly brown, and consequently difficult to identify and thus they are sometimes dismissed as just another little brown job. Now I am not one to judge someone by the colour of their skin and I think that that should be extended to the avian community.
Yesterday I spent a happy time sitting in a field, in the sun, with my camera and telephoto lens and I took a couple of hundred shots of little brown jobs in the trees by the edge of the field. ( There was another reason for this activity which is that my camera has been playing up when I use my normal lens and I wanted to determine that it was the lens that is at fault not the camera, so by taking a stack of photos with the telephoto lens I could be sure that it is the lens that needs attention – which it is.)
Anyway back to the LBJ’s. Two of them, the Spotted Flycatchers and Pied Flycatchers,were relatively easy to identify. As you can see from the photos the Spotted Flycatcher is not actually spotted, just vaguely flecked on the breast and the Pied (which means black and white) Flycatcher is not pied but is grey/brown with some hint of white bars on the wings. One good way to tell them apart is that the Spotted Flycatcher normally takes a position on a prominent twig where it can look out for flies then when it sees one it flies out to catch it and more often than not returns to the same twig to eat it. The Pied Flycatcher also sits on a prominent twig to look for its dinner but usually returns to a different twig to eat it.
In the trees were some warblers. Now these really are little brown jobs. I think there were two types because one was quite yellowish and the other more brown. They were most likely Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. If they sing, which they do in Spring, then they are easy to separate. Chiffchaffs go “chiff chaff chiff chaff”, and Willow Warblers have a short song which starts with a high note and sort of goes down the scale. The other possible means of identification is the legs – Chiffchaffs have dark brown legs and the Willow Warblers have light brown. To add to the confusion they could be Melodius Warblers or Icterine Warblers. Anyway have a look at the photos and see what you think and if you know let me and everyone else know.
Luckily some Long Tailed Tits turned up and these are not little brown jobs. They are little but they have a long tail and are black and white. As winter comes on the white develops hints of pink and they are really quite beautiful.