Friday, 13 December 2013

13th December 2013; Chiffchaffs.

The recent tidal surge has resulted in large numbers of passerines feeding on the tidal wrack left behind. In the Neston area at least 6 Chiffchaffs were feeding between Denhall Lane and the Harp Inn in the hawthorn hedge and tidal debris on either side of the track. Among them was this putative Siberian Chiffchaff which, although it was not heard to call, appears to tick all the boxes when it comes to plumage.
Note the all black bill, complete absence of any green or yellow hues on mantle and head, buffy grey mantle, pale buff super and almost white underparts. There is a faint wing bar caused by the pale tips to the greater coverts. The cheeks are also pale buff which reduce the prominence of the eye-ring usually obvious on other races. The rather Bonellis Warbler like contrast between the mantle and the yellow-green colour on the wing and tail can be seen on two of the shots but is not as obvious on he third, although this is the same bird.
4 of the remaining birds appeared to be of the 'common' collybita race while a fifth appeared all grey and could not be assigned to race. Wintering Chiffchaffs are always worth a second look Observers E,W  (photos) and K.D. 


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