Sunday, 9 March 2014

95% tristis

Thanks to Neil Wright, I finally got to hear the remaining Siberian Chiffchaff sing yesterday morning. And it sounds like like it should for a tristis. Take a listen:

But there is no doubt this wasn't a 'classic' bird, at least in my eyes. When it first arrived it looked good (see above) but you would have walked straight past it if you were only 'listening' for Siberian Chiffchaffs. Take a listen here:

The calls represented here were typical of what it was giving constantly.  Interstingly since first picking it up in early December I have hardly heard it call in all the visits I have made over to look at it.  However it called several times yesterday and I managed to get two snatches on my Remembird:

None of these calls are the true tristis 'peep'.  They are virtually all a clear rising 'wheep' just like collybita. The two calls recorded yesterday are actually much closer to a true tristis call but still aren't really flat, as you can see in the sonogram above.  So where does that leave us?

Well, it looks like a tristis, and it sings like a tristis, but doesn't really call like a tristis.  Is it a tristis?  I think so.  This bird is a prime candidate for having some DNA work done so we'd know once and for all, that tristis can call just like collybita.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I eventually managed a trip up to Norfolk to see the Parrot Crossbills at Holt CP yesterday.  After seeing them very briefly first thing in the morning we eventually got brilliant views around lunchtime.  Not excellent photos but I was too busy actually looking at them.  Choop choop!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

And another weird chiffy

Another interesting Chiffchaff.  This one was at Broom GP.  I initially saw two birds in the willows - one dingy grey collybita type which was calling constantly, and then this bird.  I hadn't noticed it until I tried playing tristis song at the collybita bird (just to see if it would react more than anything else), and this bird popped out from the bottom of some willows and started flapping its wings and bouncing around the branches above me.  Unfortunately this bird remained silent throughout.

Plumage wise this is an odd bird.  From a distance it looks buffy and brown, with the only real green around the wings and tail.  Up close the green is much more evident, especially around the mantle, flanks and in the supercillium.  The two chiffchaffs in this clump also act differently - the collybita is often much higher up in the top third of the willows, but this bird is usually at the very bottom - usually in the bottom two feet, just above the water.

To say that chiffchaffs do my head in is an understatement!  As others have said, its redpolls all over again...

Saturday, 18 January 2014

3 Caspians and an Iceland

I went back to Milton a few days later with Mark Thomas.  The gulling was still brilliant - just the four Caspian Gulls this time, but also a juvenile Iceland gull too.  Nice.

I've added some music to this one, mainly to blot out all the swearing...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Out of county gulling

On Monday I had a cracking afternoons gulling in Cambs.  I started off at the tip at Milton and spent two happy hours pouring through the few thousand gulls coming and going.  Top of the pops were up to six Caspian Gulls, with a back up of around ten Yellow-legged Gulls.  I was disappointed not to bag myself a white-winger as up to two juv Glaucs had been seen the previous few days.  At around 3:15 I thought I should give the Grafham roost a go.  I was pushing it get there before it got too dark, but managed to pull up just after 4pm

I started scanning from the fishing lodge and within five minutes I had found a lovely looking adult Glauc not far off shore.  All other hopes of finding more Caspo's drifted in to the darkness as I happily watched my first adult Glauc of a good few years.

The videos above were digiscoped (at great distance!) with a Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 25-50x zoom, and Nikon V1 and kit lens.

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