WE'D BEEN TALKING about Chiffchaffs yesterday as we walked down the path at Millbank where, in the summer of 1999, we always heard at least one chiff-chaff. We still call it the 'Chiffchaff path' but this year, apart from one singing in the spring, we heard only Willow Warblers there.
Has the habitat changed? Was the weather different this year? Or has the general distribution of these two similar-looking warblers changed?
This morning we are surprised to hear, then see, a chiff-chaff singing in our back garden. It perches in a small tree, such as our Golden Hornet crab apple, to give its song.
'chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff'It seems to be singing in a fairly hit-and-miss way as it wanders through neighbouring gardens, making short flights then disappearing amongst the leaves of a shrub or small tree. I wonder if the spring-like sunshine has triggered its song.
Chiffchaffs are summer migrants in Britain. Most of them spend the winter around the Mediterranean, but a number overwinter here.
Related LinkPhil Barnet, of the Birds in a Cheshire Garden web site, tells me;
'Chiffchaffs sing in the autumn after the moult- though nowhere near as much as in spring.
I've quite often heard them in September - up to October 10th in fact.'