Friday, 11 January 2013

Chiff Heaven or Hell

Wednesday gave me a chance to try and add a few species to my Foot-it list so I thought I would wander down to Holes Bay and take in the PC World drain on the way there. It took about half an hour to reach the eastern end of the drain where the first bird I put my bins on was a Common Sandpiper and next was a Grey Wagtail which was all good.
PC World drain

However, there were no Chiffchaff here so I moved into the car park at the back of PC World and immediately could see at least half a dozen of varying hues. One bird looked interesting but didn't appear quite right to me for tristis and in correspondence with one of the local birders he informed me that they caught a bird last year which looked good in the hand for tristis and responded well to the appropriate recordings but they also felt wasn't the full package - the same bird?
Here's a couple of photos of it:

Tristis or not tristis that is the question

I then played a sound recording of tristis call and this bird appeared which to my eye looks good for tristis but both of these birds were silent.

 Siberian Chiffchaff

Looks good to me but usual caveats apply!

I saw the bird again yesterday but couldn't find it today, there must have been upwards of 15 Chiffchaff in the sunny conditions but they were more dispersed along the drain. Whilst playing the Sibe Chiff call a male Kingfisher flew in and perched no less than 20 feet away but didn't stop long enough for a photo unfortunately.


On to Holes Bay where it was the lowest tide I've seen since being down here. It was alive with birds, mainly Wigeon and Teal along with a handful of Gadwall and I could only locate one male Pintail but that's all I needed! There were over 100 Redshank scattered around the bay and I was pleased to pick up a Spotted Redshank amongst them. A tight flock of Avocet numbered 80 and it was good to see some Dunlin (18) as they're not always guaranteed up here. I picked up another Common Sandpiper flying in from over by the railway line and it pitched down in the drain. I hadn't included Kestrel on my target list for Foot-it as I hadn't seen one hereabouts so one perched on the lamp-posts along the road was a bonus.

Holes Bay - not much water but loads of birds - honest!

A quick look south of the railway revealed 5 Goldeneye but still no Black-tailed Godwit to be seen anywhere. The roof at Kerry Foods was covered in large white-headed gulls but I just wasn't inclined to scrutinise them but even with a cursory glance four Yellow-legged Gulls jumped out at me.

I calculated that I had walked 5.8 miles and upped my Foot-it total to 73 (target 82).

Any constructive comments on the various Chiffchaff gladly welcomed!

On the 5th January I took part in a bird-race and as one of the team members has already written a blog post that it quite amusing then I'll just direct you to it:

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