Monday, 4 February 2013

What Do You Think?

I had a text from Chris Hindle today asking if I could go over to Reculver after work to photograph a very pale Chiffchaff, possibly a Siberian Chiffchaff. Chris had seen it the day before and had noted quite a few features which seemed to fit in with this species. I happily took up the challenge and after work popped over with the sun kind of out from time to time. I soon located a few Chiffchaff feeding low down in the brambles with up to 4 birds seen, all looking very green when another bird flew into view. This bird stood out very well compared to the other Chiffchaffs and was indeed pale. Getting a photo was a challenge as predicted as it never stayed still for that long but some features in line with Siberian could clearly be seen, black legs and bill, a buff supercillium, pale breast and grey back. I never heard the bird call which would have helped and hopefully it will stay around long enough to be heard. I managed in the end to get a number of dodgy shots of the bird and would appreciate any comments on the birds identity. Compared to the other Chiffchaff present, this was a very obvious bird to pick up when in the area. Maybe its just an aytpical Chiffchaff but perhaps it could be a Siberian Chiffchaff. After leaving the bird I had a quick look and managed to see 2 Woodcock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Common Buzzard and 1 Kestrel.

Chiffchaff Sp


  1. A siberian chiffchaff, bet your pleased at it. I haven't seen one. It seems that Reculver is a haven, and your friend, Chris. Nice captures Marc.

  2. Certainly looks like one Marc, have a look at Martin Garner's blog for photos of a couple of birds here in Poole and go back a couple of weeks for two id articles.
    It's good to hear them give the peep call but to be honest when you get a really obvious one it's not essential but does always helps.
    Nice one!

  3. It looks like a normally elusive little bird. Congrats on your photos!

  4. Every Chiffy I look at is different Marc :-) Need the calls to help me out ( even from Willow warblers sometimes!)

  5. It appears that this is not a Siberian Chiffchaff but a very pale Common Chiffchaff. There is always something to learn.

  6. Chris Hindle has put some reasons on the KOS site on the Reculver page. Take a look as i would like to know your thoughts Marcus.

  7. Hi Marc,
    Here's a quote from Martin Garner's blog with the link below to the full article.
    "Critically in the paper all birds identified as abietinus were found to be tristis based on mtDNA (as well as all the obvious tristis)."

    Unfortunately I think Alan Dean's papers threw a lot of people off track as to what constitutes a tristis but thankfully his errors seem to have been rectified now.

    All the best,