It’s difficult to make my farmland Breeding Bird Survey square (now also an English Winter Bird Survey square) look very interesting. It’s value is that it is typically dull.
It was being typically dull one slightly frosty morning this week when I surveyed it. Few birds and no Brown Hares.
The ‘best’ bird of the survey was a Chiffchaff hopping about in a desolate-looking hedgerow. I don’t hear many Chiffchaffs on this site in spring/summer so I was quite surprised to come across this one on this mid-winter day. And I was pleased to record it as it was skulking and silent so it was quite well-spotted – I thought it would be a Robin when I first saw it. Birds have an amazing ability to appear invisible when still. I knew where this one was but waited ages for it to move so that I could clinch the identification. It was sitting in a bare bush with a few twigs and yet it was difficult to spot.
I see from my records that in the first four years (2005-08) I surveyed this square (in the breeding season) I had three Chiffchaff records (not strictly true – but a simplification that saves space) and in the last four years (2015-18) those records were four times higher at 13 birds.
Good exercise and worth the time.