02 January 2014

Siberian Chiffchaffs revisited

The Siberian Chiffchaffs (3?) at Monk Haven noted in my previous post have proved to be good value through the New Year period. I revisited Martin Garner's excellent papers on Siberian Chiffchaffs last night and read through the associated comments and discussion. I noticed that one bird, thought to be tristis was played a tristis song recording to attempt to get a response. Dave Astins and I had tried playing the call at Monk Haven but no response but why not try the song? Therefore, today, Kathy and I visited the sight and played tristis song from just outside the main gates of the WWTW. Within 30 seconds two Siberian Chiffchaffs - see photos in previous post - came visiting. They landed in the tall bush next to us, shivering wings a bit and cocking heads to listen. They were clearly drawn by the song, listening and reacting but not calling unfortunately. This was, however, an extraordinarily clear and strong response.

To put the scene into context: the Chiffchaffs at the site (all races) have been feeding on and around the double filter bed. They stray into a thick scrubby area behind the far fence occasionally but I have never seen any of them more than about 5 metres from the filter bed since my first visit with Dave Astins on 28th December. In order to reach the unremarkable area near the gate, the two Sibes today flew 50 metres across a clear, lawned area with no cover whatsoever. None of the collybita types showed the least bit of interest. This, to me, is pretty good evidence regarding the provenance of these birds. Love 'em.

A couple more photos:

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