Thursday 13th January 2022

I headed back to the top of Park Lane to try and relocate Monday’s possible tristis chiffchaff. I parked next to Errish House and almost immediately I picked up three Chiffchaffs in the ivy covered trees which stand along the edge of the garden. The first one I photographed looked very pale and I’m pretty sure it was Monday’s bird. My photos appear to show all of the classic features of a tristis race Siberian Chiffchaff.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Cold beige grey plumage and pale underparts with no green tone on the crown and mantle. Broad pale buffy supercilium with no yellow, the only yellow tones were at the bend of the wing. There was a hint of a greenish wash to the greater coverts, secondary edges and tertials.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Very dark blackish legs and a hint of a pale wing wing bar across the greater coverts.

Siberian Chiffchaff

I spent three hours around the perimeter of the garden hoping it might call but it didn’t.

In addition to the Siberian Chiffchaff the area, known as Rye Errish, provided a few birds that were new for the year. A Crossbill headed north probably from the pines halfway down to the farm. It’s a single bird and while their calls can be quite variable the quality and tone are usually consistent and diagnostic. I’ve added the recording and at the end you can hear two or three notes from a Siskin as well.

Crossbill and Siskin flying over Rye Errish
Sparrowhawk photo by Brian Fairbrother

Opposite Errish House on the Bergerie Farm side two Mistle Thrush were feeding in the field while a Sparrowhawk soared over the pines. A Coal Tit called and then appeared in the pines at the back of Errish House.

Mistle Thrush

A Firecrest flew into the garden from the adjacent hedge and called as it flew across, it showed briefly before disappearing deep into the cover. You can hear that the three notes in each part of the Firecrest call are slightly ascending in pitch and this is especially obvious in the first part of this recording. In contrast Goldcrest calls are usually level or descending.

Firecrest
Firecrest calling

I headed down to Needs Ore to check what was on the sea and to spend a bit of time at the Sailing Club. On the sea there were two Slavonian Grebes and four Razorbill and a male Eider headed west while a female Red-breasted Merganser rested on the sea.

The juvenile Peregrine was on a bare tree below Exbury Fields and the 14 Spoonbill were asleep on Inchmery Saltmarsh. A single Greenshank flew over the Sluice Gate Saltmarsh and eight Greenfinch at the Sluice Gate was a good count. Another good count was 40 Meadow Pipits flying over De L’Orne South. In the heat haze two Snipe were resting on the edge of the scrape. A feeding Little Egret was reflected in the sheltered water near the Sluice Gate.

Little Egret

As I was driving back along Warren Lane a Red Admiral buzzed the car and then settled on a tree to bask in the sun. Lots of UK butterfly species spend the winter as eggs or caterpillars but Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell winter as adults.  

Red Admiral

After lunch I headed back to Rye Errish hoping to hear the Siberian Chiffchaff calling but again no luck although I did see a male Kestrel with his prey.

male Kestrel

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