15
Sep
14

Defensive Chiffchaffs and Robins

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The Hill gave up very little on Sunday morning. A Whinchat and a trio of Wheatear were the best it could offer and we’d probably been acquainted with those birds previously.

Even an early morning call from Paul regarding Dolphins heading my way unfortunately came to nothing. It wasn’t until late afternoon that things came to life with the easterlies gaining momentum

A visit to the valley bottom gave the first surprise. On exiting the car I heard it shout. The eruptive call of a Yellow browed is unmistakable. Although elusive the distinctive olive green upperparts, silky white unders and wingbars gained a piecemeal confirmation. A defensive Chiffchaff making claim against invasion soon saw off the northern sprite. Despite an hour of patient listening I didn’t hear him shout again. Perhaps he’ll call more when he’s rested.

I went to the cliff top to re-photograph the coneheads and Bush crickets – this time taking a bat detector!

We had often talked about the wood on the cliff and how nothing was ever found there. As I walked through the trees I was surprised therefore (for the second time in the day) to see a bird perched. It was nothing more than a silhouette but before I raised my bins I knew what it was. The drooped winds and cocked tail all screamed Red breasted Flycatcher. The white I saw at the base of the tail made me smile. I reached for the camera and the bird dropped from sight … replaced by a Robin; two birds in the wood! I didn’t see it again despite Rose, Paul and Greg quickly on site. Elating but frustrating. Damn Chiffs and Robins.

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Chiffchaff

The damn Chiffy – one of the offending defenders.

I could hear the rain in the night drumming on the skylights. Surely both birds would stop and I’d get more prolonged views next morning. I resolved to get up early.

As I exited the door this morning there was a detonation of red from the laurel hedge that could have been nothing other than a Redstart. It was. This bode well. I watched it quiver a while and then made my way to the clifftop. I had not gone far before the heavy moist air was punctuated by a shape in the mist. I expected a large gull. I raised my bins and squinted. The form of an Osprey materialised; making it’s way laboriously east. I heard later it was seen mid morning further south at Horsey. The phone went and I was called away by the promise of a Paddyfield Warbler. Sadly despite much looking and listening it came to nothing. It had moved on.

I looked later for the Yellow browed and the RB Fly, but saw nothing. The wood and everywhere else was emptied of everything but a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.

Ah well! … it was good while it lasted.

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