Thursday, 19 December 2019


So, yesterday I spent a bit of time chasing Chiffchaffs at Colyton WTW. Uncharacteristically then, quite a few photos and not so many words. I am still reading up on tristis, and at some point in the future I'll post something a little more analytical and in-depth, but for now...

Phylloscopus collybita collybita
First up, a couple of photos of your common-or-garden, everyday Chiffchaff, to pave the way for what follows.

P.c. collybita
P.c. collybita

Bird 1 (P.c. tristis?)
I suspect this is the bird I saw on December 11, but cannot be sure. I only managed a handful of photos of this individual, and none gave me a really good comparison with photos of last week's bird. I am conscious that it looks quite grey in these pics, more so than I thought it did in the field.

One of the first photos I took yesterday, but this bird ended up being the most elusive.

Bird 2 (P.c. tristis?)
This bird kept returning to one particular part of the hedge, and was therefore much easier to photograph (not that you can call anything in perpetual motion 'easy to photograph') and it has a rather different look to Bird 1. But notice how much its colour tone can change. Same bird, same camera, same flat light. I'm pretty sure the factors influencing this phenomenon are more to to with photographic variables than the bird itself, but none of the images have had their colours tweaked in any way.

Again, in the field it looked a warm, buffy, grey-brown in the main. Noticeable absence of yellowy-green fringing to the wing and tail feathers too, unlike Bird 1.

On the LHS it has a little white mark in the alula, which helped me be sure it was the same bird when analysing the photos later on.
And on the RHS a stubby new flight feather (?) growing out from below the greater coverts

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