I saw my first Chiffchaff of the year at Stanwick Lakes this morning. And a nice sunny morning it was too. I was walking along a path before the sun had actually risen above the horizon.
The Chiffchaff turned up a little later on my walk, in a wet area which seemed to have a lot of birds in it – Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, Reed Buntings and Redwings. I heard the Chiffchaff call, and when I turned to look for it, it appeared in a bush close to where I was standing. This little bird, which I would expect to hear singing first of all in about eight weeks’ time, did a spot of fly-catching (although I didn’t see it catch anything for sure) and then flew off to creep around in the soggy grassland and reeds. It was a brief delight; a reminder of the fact that spring isn’t that far away really.
This small, delicate-looking bird, that basically visits us in the summer to feed on insects, is toughing out the winter at my local patch. I’ll never know, but I hope that he or she makes it through the winter.
Birdtrack shows me that I see Chiffchaff at Stanwick in December or January in most winters.
I haven’t yet seen a Blackcap in the garden – but I often do around the time of the Big Garden Birdwatch so I am keeping my eyes open.