Hunting for Chiffchaffs

Friday, April 23, 2010 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Ever since the arrival of Spring my morning sleep has been rudely interrupted by the incredibly loud calls of a couple of Chiffchaffs. I say a couple but it could be a whole army of them given the volume that they seem to be able to generate. Now don't get me wrong I have no objection to them at all as every day they remind me why I wanted a house in the countryside in the first place. What I do have an issue with is the fact that I can never find any when I am out and about with my camera. I had an hour to kill after work waiting for my other half to get back (she wanted to go and try for the Garganey from yesterday but it seems to have sadly moved on), so I ventured out the back of the house to what I suppose I should start calling my local patch. As usual the array of birds for such a small area was frankly amazing. I saw three Jays, a couple of Goldfinch, Magpies, numerous Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches, a couple of Buzzards being mobbed by the local Jackdaws, a Song Thrush, some very aggressive Chaffinches as well as my target; the Chiffchaffs. I even managed to find one that was just in range of my camera and rattled off a couple of pictures before it noticed me and flew off.

12312 - Chiffchaff
12310 - Chiffchaff 12311 - Chiffchaff

Also flitting through the trees were a couple of Collared Doves that are probably the dimmest examples I have ever encountered. Pretty much every morning I have to stop the car while they decide to get out of the road so that I can carry on. I also saw my second butterfly of the year (that I could identify anyway) in the form of a Speckled Wood.

12309 - Collared Dove 12314 - Speckled Wood

As I mentioned above we couldn't relocate the Garganey at Sandy Water Park later in the evening but the male Wood Duck was still putting on a fine display. What was noticeable was that the number of Sand Martins was even more impressive than yesterday with upwards of sixty individuals flying through the air. They must presumably have been getting a very good feed if the number of flies at ground level was anything to go by!

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