This is no Farmoor, Otmoor or Port Meadow. This is Grimsbury. It's Grim up north!

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Monday, 6 March 2017

6th Mar 2017: Singing Chiffchaff

As I walked up the path along the river this morning it was great to hear a Chiffchaff give a short burst of song. I was instantly full of joy at the realisation that within six or seven weeks there will be Chiffchaffs singing virtually everywhere I go. As I watched it flycatching a second bird appeared. This was a surprise because even though we have seen a single bird occasionally over the winter, I didn't really think that there may have been more than one around. It is a bit early for birds arriving from wintering grounds further south so I assume these are birds that have wintered locally.

The second bird (above) caught my eye as it seemed to have the general appearance of a Siberian Chiffchaff. Though the more I watched it, I saw more green/yellow colours to its plumage but that was in very bright sun. When I got back home and looked at the photos and compared them to others I was unsure and wondered if it might actually be one. I asked a few friends about it and went back for another look. It was pointed out to me that it actually has green/yellow plumage on the breast, mantle and in the supercilium, which I had somehow over looked and while watching it I heard it call in the classic Common Chiffchaff way. So it definitely isn't a Siberian Chiffchaff, but it was good to have a good look at this bird to refresh my memory of the identification criteria.

Walking back from seeing the two birds along the river a third bird was calling near the entrance to the reservoir. I have no idea where these birds have suddenly appeared from, or if they have been around all winter and have just been very quiet and elusive. There wasn't much else of note to be honest. There were at least four Treecreepers singing and I saw the Marsh Tit. There are a lot of birds singing now and general breeding/nesting activity, especially from the Rookery as the birds shuttle back and forth with twigs to the nests.

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