Monday, 25 February 2013

Siberian Chiffchaff Middleton

It's always exciting to see a "Sibe" and today was no exception. I decided to call in at Wince Brook Nature Reserve at Middleton, Greater Manchester, in the hope of seeing the Siberian Chiffchaff which has been at the site for at least 3 weeks. The directions were good, and I was able to find both the reserve and the birds favourite buddleia growing over the brook with relative ease. There were a few Goldcrests in the bush when I arrived, and after about 5 minutes a Chiffchaff flew in and raised the pulse rate, but alas no, it was too brown, and it was clearly a Common Chiffchaff.

There was certainly a Siberian like nip in the air, so after about 15 minutes I went for a short walk in an attempt to stop myself freezing to the spot. On returning to the buddleia, I immediately spotted another Chiffchaff, and this time the grey / brown upperparts and a distinct supercillium, combined with white underparts and olive brown wings, making it slightly reminisant of Bonelli's Warbler, confirmed that I was indeed in the presence of a Siberian Chiffchaff.

It then proceded to perform extremely well, I watched it for about 30 minutes as it flitted around the buddleia, no more than about 10 metres from me. It called a couple of times in a quite different way to the happy hweet of Common Chiffchaff. It was more like a mournful peep!

Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis is a race of Common Chiffchaff, breeding north and east of Khazakhstan. I'm not sure why Iberian Chiffchaff is now considered a seperate species, yet Siberian isn't, but it's probably only a matter of time before it gets split. Why a tiny bird from the other side of Kazakhstan would want to overwinter by the side of a brook in Greater Manchester is even more perplexing. For more information on Siberian Chiffchaff, click here.

Also seen today, Kingfisher and 2 Teal.

Revised Year List 138 (Chiffchaff)

Siberian Chiffchaff and Sparrowhawk.

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