As the weather looked half decent for a change I decided to book a day off work and check a few sites out around Poole with the ultimate aim of trying to get some photos of Siberian Chiffchaff at Swineham. The first spot where I saw a stunning Sibe Chiff a couple of weeks ago yielded nothing unfortunately as the light here was excellent. I carried on to where the second of three birds had been seen previously and could hear some Long-tailed Tits so was optimistic they may be carrying the Chiffs. Sure enough a collybita called so I quickly blasted out the Sibe Chiff song and immediately a bird starting singing back - I'd never heard them singing before so was very happy. The collybita and tristis showed quite well together but never really posed for the camera. This was the best I could manage of this bird:
I moved further along to the NE corner of the pit and saw something moving in the gorse there. On playing the recording not one, but two Sibe Chiffs popped out and then amazingly a third. I spent quite a while trying to get some decent photos but the light had now deteriorated and my old camera just wasn't up to the job of focusing quick enough. Nonetheless, perseverance paid off and I got some shots I was quite happy with. They really are chameleon birds and depending on the light, angle of observation and even surrounding foliage the appearance of their plumage tones changes quite dramatically.
Catching the Bug book by the Sound Approach.
Other highlights at Swineham were an adult male Hen Harrier, 8 or 9 Marsh Harrier and a Jack Snipe. I had hoped for a white-winger but this was found via video-cam at the other end of the harbour on Brownsea. The saturating light drizzle, which then set in, put paid to the viewing of the gathering gulls off the point.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Sunday, 16 February 2014
A bit of a blast from the past:
Barry Wright found this rather interesting Stonechat just after Christmas of 2001 on Dartford Fresh Marsh. Field views gave the impression of Siberian Stonechat especially as the rump appeared pale and unmarked with the bird sporting a fairly prominent super.
After obtaining permission from the land owners and procuring the services of one of the local ringers we set about trying to catch the bird. A couple of nets were duly erected and it wasn't too long before the bird was in the bag so to speak.
I haven't got the measurements but I do recall that they all fell within the overlap range between Stonechat and Siberian Stonechat. A really stunning bird in it's own right and we came to the conclusion that the bird was just a "pigmentally challenged" Stonechat - probably!
Some features, in particular the rump, didn't look as good in the hand as they had done in the field and the hoped for black axillaries didn't materialise.
Anybody else seen an individual like this or have any views on what it may be?