April 7th, 2008, 10:05 AM
April 7th, 2008, 11:24 AM
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
April 7th, 2008, 11:25 AM
I like the pictures and that's a chiffchaff which has probably recently arrived for the summer although some do overwinter in the South.
April 7th, 2008, 11:34 AM
Thank you Colin & Nathan.
Even given the name, checking the book still would have been hard for me to identify it. Careful study and reading the description of the calls confirms it. It was the call I have been attracted to. I heard it first of all in the middle of last week but never found the bird until today.
April 7th, 2008, 12:10 PM
The main confusion species here would have been Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) but, at this time of the year when the birds are calling there should be no problem in distinguishing between the two on song/call (you might like to think about getting a set of bird-song/call CDs as your next purchase?) - the Chiffchaff gets its name from its very distinctive song.
The other major ID feature is that Chiffs have black legs while Willows have pale buff to pink legs; this is not always easy because "backlighting" can actually show the transparency of these bird's very thin legs and make them look paler (as in your second photo).
Your second photo also appeared to show this bird having quite a long "primary projection" (look at the pictures of both species in Collins Bird Guide for an explanation) but I think that that was just the angle of the shot. In any case, because of the "furtive" behaviour of these species in the field it is not an easy feature to see.
Some birds can be difficult, I see Chiffs with pale legs and Willows with dark legs, and general plumage is (in my opinion) not a good base for separation, but if you hear them it is conclusive.
April 7th, 2008, 12:25 PM
Thanks for that explanation Colin. I have started by trying to compare plumage but, as you say, it does not always give you a decent enough guide. Beak shape/colour and leg colour and body shape/colour are things that I now start with. Bird calls are something I have no idea about and maybe your suggestion is one that I must take up. All I could say was that I was attracted by the call as it is distinctly different to most bird calls. I expected to find something the size of a blackbird and was surprised at the size of the chiffchaff I suppose I should not have been when you consider the call of the diminutive wren.
April 8th, 2008, 11:40 PM
This I believe is a chiffchaff. Much better image than the previous ones.