Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Surrey VC - Molesey Heath - Report of Iberian Chiffchaff!

Yesterday whilst I was enjoying the U’s make a second half comeback against Dagenham and Redbridge news of an Iberian Chiffchaff broke at Molesey Heath in Surrey! I had a CBC survey to do on the North Lake at Beddington Farm first thing but then I would take the short trip to see the bird.
The survey with Derek Coleman went to plan in what felt like freezing conditions with a NE gale blowing across the lake. I spoke to Frank and Tank about my plans and Frank was quick to join the expedition after a cup of coffee naturally! The journey took about forty minutes and we joined a handful of birders which included Lee Evans.
(Supercillium stripe to bill brighter yellow. Yellow breast wash not as evident. Bill dark. Legs dark)
(Greenish appearance to head mantle and wings. Yellow breast wash not as obvious. Legs Dark)
The bird in question was very vocal. With bursts of willow then almost lesser whitethroat and ending with a chiffchaff like call. The song did vary with willow being omitted at times. The bird was very active flitting from the far bank of the river into the trees where we were stood. I positioned myself on a small raised platform as I attempted to secure some photographic evidence of the bird. The light was considerably poorer on this side of the bank with small areas where the sun shone through. Obtaining good pictures was going to be tricky but not impossible to achieve. The position of the bird may affect the appearance of some features.
(The yellow breast wash is more obvious. The supercillium stripe extends beyond the eye. Pale bill. Legs are dark. Greenish head, mantle and wings. Primary projection extended)
One advantage was the bird was regularly calling which allow its movements to be accurately monitored by the small gathering. Frankie also acted as my second pair of eyes allowing me to use my manual focus to lock on the busy bird!
(Prominent supercillium extending behind the eye. Bill lighter. Yellow breast wash. Dark Legs. Primary projection appears short)
During our stay we had heard news of a Stone Curlew which had been flushed further down the track. The likelihood of this bird remaining with dog walkers in the area was unlikely but we went for a look all the same just in case! Greenshank had been reported at Beddington Farm so we decided to return and try and add them to our April tally... There is a separate blog entry for this part of the day!

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