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Iberian Chiffchaff in the UK

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  • Iberian Chiffchaff in the UK

    The following article has just been posted here.

    Please use this thread to reply with your observations and feedback, recordings and photos. Thanks!

  • #2
    Brian's article is EXCELLENT, and I will read it again when I have more time to study the accompanying photos.

    I am surrounded by Chiffs all year round; the most common warbler by a long chalk and unless the weather turns very cold (i.e. insect life disappears) they will build up in huge numbers in S Europe. Of course, at this time of year they are totally silent, but their plumage variation has to be seen to be believed. I have positively identified Ibericas on plumage but given the variation in lighting they are VERY difficult. We have then from brown to grey to green to almost yellow, and some with pink legs too!!

    Not for the nervous

    Colin

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    • #3
      Hi Colin, you're in the right part of the world for getting to know ibericus.
      My Surfbirds Photo Albums

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      • #4
        In his article, Brian Small has referred to my film in the Surfbirds video section of the Colney (U.K.) Iberian Chiffchaff singing. With this clip being part of a montage of various U.K. rarities it only includes a short burst of song.
        I have plenty more film of this bird singing and can make it available on Surfbirds in a longer clip, or elsewhere, if it helps in any way.

        Roy.

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        • #5
          Roy

          It would be great if you could post more footage of the Ibe Chiff at Colney. If you have any of it calling it would be good, but any would be very informative.

          Brian

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          • #6
            Great article Brian- will certainly be re-reading in more detail when I'm not struggling through biology coursework!
            Josh Jones
            http://joshrjones.blogspot.co.uk/

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            • #7
              I have now sent more video of the Colney bird to Andy so, hopefully, he will put it on the site soon.
              It is clear that this individual was not always singing its full song. Sometimes just the first seven or eight notes can be heard.

              Roy.

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              • #8
                Iberian chiffchaff

                Hi Everyone
                Following Brian Smalls excellent & interesting article regarding Iberian Chiffchaffs and in particular the Lavenham Chiffchaff, I thought it would be a good idea to add some further dates and observations to the L.C. story. As Brian mentioned, the bird was discovered on 13/4/2007 but it was last seen on 1/8/07. It bred successfully with a common chiffchaff and four fledgelings were first noted on 10/7/07 (I managed to obtain a few pictures). The nest site was probably in a garden across the road, away from its normal patch(which it was still frequenting). I believe that a previous breeding attempt had been made in late May as our bird was seen food carrying during a cold and exceedingly wet Whitsun weekend. It was during this weekend incidentally that I was able to establish definitley that it was using a collybita call. It only (and rarely) appeared to call when in close proximity to other chiffchaffs, but increased its output in July, during the days following the young leaving the nest. We never at any time heard the Lavenham Chiffchaff use the classic 'seeoo' call of Ibericus as described by Brian.Thanks to Peter Evans we have extensive recordings of the L.C. including its call and these have been analysed by Martin Collinson (thanks again Martin) who has made various sonograms of its vocalisations and found definite Iberian elements (I almost forgot to mention that it was capable,during the latter part of its stay of, on a couple of occasions, rendering faultless collybita song!). Greg Conway at the B.T.O has pointed out that as far as he is able to discern from Bill Bastons flight picture, the primary measurements appear to correspond to an 'Iberian type' bird.
                However, I'll leave you with a couple of lines from Jane Taylor who lived in Lavenham and who penned the immortal words...'Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.'

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                • #9
                  Roy's terrific video is now in the Video section and you can see it here. Best, Andy
                  My Surfbirds Photo Albums

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                  • #10
                    Pete

                    Thanks for the additional info on the Lavenham bird. In my opinon the call of Iberian Chiffchaff is diagnostic, so if you categorically state that it called like a Common then I believe that is what it was.

                    That its song was so odd and seemed to have elements reminiscent of Iberian just goes to show that a cautious approach is necessary when faced with such a bird. I also note that a strangely singing chiffchaff in the Netherlands was not accepted because there was no recording of the call.

                    Brian S

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                    • #11
                      Very interesting article, thanks. At the same time as the Colney and Lavenham birds were present I was seeing another odd-singing Chiffchaff at Swanton Morley (Norfolk) that showed some vocal characters of Iberian Chiffchaff. If you're interested I have photos and a detailed description of the song (no recording I'm afraid) on my website. I don't think it was an Iberian and presume it was just another one of these odd-singing Chiffchaffs - opinions would be welcome though.

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                      • #12
                        Were any sonograms produced from recordings of the Lavenham bird? The case for Iberian would be helped if the opening notes of each phrase peaked at no more than 6 kHz or so - collybita is more in the 8 kHz bracket. In April last year we had a suspected Ibe Chiff, for just one afternoon, singing from undercliff scrub on our E Devon coastal patch. The song was not really fully formed, but sonograms were kindly produced from recordings that we had made, by Martin Collinson and Magnus Robb. The pattern and frequency of the resultant squiggles persuaded us to submit the record! The bird called just twice - a down-slurred, plaintive 'tiu' - but this was another strong indicator of ibericus. I was hoping to attach a couple of mp3 files, but have just seen that I cannot...

                        EDIT.....but now I can! Cheers Admin. They are not mega loud (recorded on a camera) but not bad. These 3 are pretty typical of what the bird was doing. I've also attached a sonogram (produced by Magnus robb) of recording #5. I ought to mention that this record is still with the BBRC. Anyway, hope this is of interest.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Gavin Haig; January 12th, 2008, 09:33 AM.
                        Not Quite Scilly...

                        Devon Bird News

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                        • #13
                          Hi Gavin, try attaching your mp3s now.

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                          • #14
                            If could be of any interest, not entering in the merit of those records for wich I did not checked neither consider myself enough experienced in Iberian CC, I think that some odd singing or mixed singing birds could be explained in a way I think I never heard or read before: I've seen some mixed flocks of Iberian and European CC for ex. in Southern Tunisia oasis (where even if extremely rare some Iberian do winter rarely) ... during mild and sunny winter some happy birds sing (they not necesserly have to sing just for breeding as many ornithologists seems to believe, otherwise why very often birds sing during stop-over on migration...???) ...some birds - chiefly "open minded" juveniles- learn other close by species songs... if in some species such as Acro, Sturnus, Alaudidae, Lanius etc. etc. mimicracy (is that the right English word??) is rather normal, other species also sometimes do it...

                            therefore, I've heard some Willow imitating Chiffchaff (looking exactly like a Willow and not an hybrid, at least phenotypically) ...why not Iberian imitating or mixing Chiffchaff's song and viceversa??

                            Just something to consider in the future and think about...

                            Cheers

                            Andrea Corso
                            Last edited by macrourus; September 2nd, 2011, 01:45 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Sorry, reading again my post I realised I was not clesar in my English traslation: when I say " something I never heard or read before..." I meant ... IN A FORUM ... of course this is reported in litterature or in some webpages ...
                              Last edited by macrourus; September 2nd, 2011, 01:45 PM.

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