Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Iberian-type Chiffchaff - Kelsall, Cheshier - 31st May 2017

 After work this afternoon, I popped down to Kelsall, Cheshire to have a look at the reported probable Iberian Chiffchaff. It was singing on arrival and certainly sounded the part. It did several bursts of classic Iberian-type song, although after a while on site it began to mix collybita chiffchaff song into its repertoire eventually coming out with collybita/ibericus/collybita/ibericus etc bursts. The call is something that's worrying me as all I heard was about 50 collybita-like 'hueets' and not a single 'reed bunting'-like 'seeoo'. I don't know how variable Iberian Chiffchaffs are in call, but I don't think that's the best indicator for a pure bird if an ibericus at all
Physically, I thought it looked very good. Almost half way between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. It was bright, with blotchy lemony throat, lemony rump, bright yellow undering coverts at the carpal, bright supercillium with slight kink behind the eye, all pale lower mandible, dark brown (not black) legs, quite long wings and obviously pale rump contrasting with the mantle. 

I am not experienced enough to say either way, but I do personally think it has Iberian genes, but maybe not a pure bird.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Norfolk! - 7th May 2017

Norfolk is fantastic. I've always wondered what the big deal is with Norfolk. I know it's had a wonderful history, but in recent years, it hasn't really outshone the surrounding counties like the reputation suggests. However, yesterday Danni and I spent the day in Norfolk and it really was like birding abroad.
We started off at Hickling lifering Savi's Warbler which is a bird I've wanted for a good few years and one that was really top of my list for targets for 2017. I managed a couple of views of it in flight and very briefly perched, but managed to hear is singing well on and off for a couple of hours. A really cool, powerful song. Also here, Common Crane, Spoonbill, Bittern and several Bearded Tits and singing Grasshopper Warblers.

Onto Potter Heigham Marshes, we were not expecting this to be so excellent. It was like one of the best looking wet marshes you can think of in Spain and it held 2 Black-winged Stilts we observed mating, Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover, Greenshank, Turnstone, 2 Spoonbill, Little Ringed Plovers, lots of Ruff, Dunlin, Avocet and Ringed Plover. In addition gosling Egpytian Geese, Greylag Geese and a Short-tailed Field Vole provided some cuteness

Next, onto Titchwell where there wasn't really all that much, but we couldn't help but pay homage to the legendary Red-crested Pochards on Patsy's Pool. The highlight of the day meant we left Titchwell quickly to head to Holme Nature Reserve. An adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher showing remarkably well in the car park and performing to the assembled crowd. My fourth Red-breasted Flycatcher and my first male. What a bird! What a place! What a day!