Sunday, 23 October 2016

Garden patrol

I have been patrolling the garden the last few days, checking the feeders and the trees every few hours, get a real feeling for birds arriving and moving through, although the movement has been less than substantial, however plenty of quality.

Chiffchaffs have been a feature with up to three at any one time, probably a fair few individuals. Yesterday one flitted across in front of me and when I relocated it it looked different. It then proceeded to pose for the camera just a few feet away.

"Siberian" Chiffchaff

When first found it didn't call, I was pretty sure I heard it call today, although it wasn't in view at the time. I was worried by the bare part colour, but I think the BB paper of 2007 has now been superseded and that the idea that the bill should be all black is incorrect. The Collins Guide (2nd ed) shows a bill with a fair bit of yellowish brown in the lower mandible. So I'm happy with this as tristis. A few have arrived in the county in the last couple of days. I'd watched two standard Chiffchaff feeding together yesterday, quite peacefully, although this species typically shows some pre-migration aggression to other birds, although usually earlier in the autumn. The tristis was very aggressive to the standard collybita though, during the scrap the collybita called but this bird did not.

Here are some pictures of the collybita, taken in different light today mind, but the much more greenish tones are very obvious. In the field the tristis looked a tad bigger, longer tailed anyway, with longer primaries I would suggest. Subtle things though, and in some lights it did "morph" and seemed less brown and white as Martin Garner reported in his paper on these.

Standard collybita

There were various other things in the garden, three Chaffinch were nice, although they quickly moved through. I was clearing out the back shed and whilst taking a last load out a familiar call was uttered a few feet away. Dumped the junk in the trailer and grabbed the bins and camera, back to the shed. Excellent views straightaway of the fourth Yellow-browed for the garden this autumn.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Interestingly it was closely associating with a Goldcrest.


For the remainder of the day I went for a tramp round Loch of Bosquoy, then Harray and back via Howaback (feeding the ponies on the way) and getting home slightly damp in the dark. Loch of Harray produced the highlights with Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Long-tailed Ducks x6, Slav Gebes x4 and a few Whooper Swans.

 Loch of Harray

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