Tuesday, 26 February 2013

In the Land of Chiffchaffs

I had the opportunity to visit Ecton Sewage Works today.
Large numbers of overwintering Chiffchaffs have been reported here over the last few weeks. In addition there have been up to three of the Siberian race of this species amongst them, and as I had never seen this type before I decided to take a look.
 The reason the birds had decided this was an ideal place to see out the cold weather was due to the outlet stream from the sewage farm being a few degrees warmer than would be expected and hence there were many small flies present.
 When I eventually found the right place I was amazed. There were small birds everywhere, mainly Long-tailed Tits, but amongst them Chiffchaffs - lots of them, also Robins, Wrens and a single Goldcrest.
 Looking through the Chiffchaffs at least one bird stood out from the rest, being very pale grey in fact almost white - this was a Siberian Chiffchaff. I'm sure I saw more than one but never at the same time, so can't say for definite

Siberian Chiffchaff

Siberian Chiffchaff (it's not a trick of the light, it really was this pale)

 I estimate there must have been about twenty Chiffchaffs within a 100 yard stretch, all flitting in and out of the waterside Willows. I've never seen anything like it, even in the summer. Quite amazing.
Common Chiffchaff
There were probably about 30 Long-tailed Tits present as well.
Long-tailed Tit


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