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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

My first summer visitor (or was it)?

A hint of brightness and a pause in the constant rainfall was enough to get me over the Marsh and Mere and amongst the usual suspects, at least two singing Chiffchaff at the north west end (around the old main line). This has to be the latest date in any of the last thirty years that I have put a summer visitor on my year list but to put my hand on my heart, I am still not sure that I can claim one.

You see I managed to get quite 'up-close and personal' with one of the Chiffchaff and found a very brown toned specimen with a buffish chest and supercillium, much similar in character to abietinus birds from Scandinavia (which I have seen many times wintering in the U.K.). A true migrant colybitta Chiffchaff would surely be more yellowish/green toned at this time of year wouldn't it?
Or perhaps it was just one of last years juveniles not yet moulted through? (although it was singing like a gud-un)!
Today's bird was a much darker specimen even than this!
I suppose I could ring my hands a bit harder, get the text books out and put this to rest but to be honest, at the end of the day it was still a Chiffchaff and as soon as the weather breaks they will be singing everywhere so I think I will just take the tick and be grateful (a younger me would have lost sleep over not sorting that out). There we are then a much more chilled out Chaz in action.

Clayhanger Marsh

Teal (16) - Shoveler (2) - Gadwall (2) - Chiffchaff (2) and Willow Tit (1)

Ryders Mere

Greylag (4) - Teal (1) - Gadwall (4) - Goosander (16) and two Oystercatcher.

Weather should be picking up by the end of the week so perhaps a few more summer migrants to be found. I will keep you posted - Chaz