Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The joy of Chiffchaffs

Wednesday 14th September
F3 westerly winds, mild, dry and sunny

I arrived at the car park at Chambers Wall this morning at around 8am, with little hope or expectation of much. The first bird I heard as soon as the car door opened was a Cetti's Warbler singing, and as I set of towards the east side of the hedge I could hear several Chiffchaffs calling. There was a Corn Bunting in the car park, and a Yellow Wagtail flew over, calling.

The Chiffchaff is an undervalued bird, in my opinion. Not as pretty as a Willow Warbler, and more common than most other warblers this time of year, it can be walked past too easily. On a day when there isn't a lot to see there is comfort from watching several Chiffs flitting in and out along a hedge. Apart from being enjoyable to watch, they are constantly calling so you know there are more around, and their presence promises something even better may be just round the corner.


Today I counted 34 Chiffchaffs as I walked up to the railway crossing, and walked west to the Green Wall and back, and i'm sure many more were in the area. Other warblers were 2 Whitethroats and a Reed Warbler. Walking north I heard the familiar sound of Siskins calling, and overhead flew a flock of 8 birds heading west. A sign of autumn.

2 Grey Wagtails flew west along the embankment as I walked into the strong wind. One sat on the sluice at the Wantsum just long enough to tempt me into trying for a photo, which didn't come out good. The only other birds of note were 54 Meadow Pipits flying west.

Driving away from Chambers Wall I noticed over fields west of the track all the gulls were up, and there were 1 or 2 raptors amongst them. I spent about half an hour watching the skies, seeing 2 Common Buzzards together, at least 4 Marsh Harriers, a Peregrine and 3 Kestrels.

Distant Buzzards

All in all a pleasant morning.

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