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Since writing the last post this morning I’ve been wondering and reading about chiffchaffs and willow warblers and thought it might be worth nipping back down to Min-y-Don to see if there might be any of those I saw on Friday still hanging around. To my surprise and delight there were little warblers everywhere, almost every tree had at least one amongst its twigs and leaf buds and there were birds darting out after flies all over the place. They are so mobile and active that counting them was not really an option, but there are a good many. That doesn’t make identifying them any easier, but what I will say is that there is definitely a mix of the two species, indisputably so after hearing songs from both this afternoon and the fact that they are still here must indicate that they are all finding plenty to eat.

When I came to look more closely at my photographs I spotted that the one below has a leg ring – anyone recognise it? The tag I mean, not the bird!

Chiffchaff or willow warbler between buds of a sycamore.

Willow warbler between buds of a sycamore. This bird is ringed, anyone recognise it?

Getting views of the birds is not a problem at all, as I said they are all over the place, but getting sight of an individual for more than a second or two is something else. They are not too bothered about people being around, one surprised me by popping up over the wall alongside the river right in front of me: it was chasing after a fly which I saw escaped, more’s the pity as it looked like a mosquito. 

I followed the path alongside the river and just the other side of the bend heard a chiffchaff singing very close by. I located it quite easily, on the branch of a tree quite surprisingly low down, but it moved away when it saw me. He didn’t go far though and reappeared on a branch overhanging the path with a good view over the water. He sang a few phrases, then suddenly dashed down to the water and swooped straight back up again with a sizeable fly in his beak.

The chiffchaff with his prize - a good-sized fly

The chiffchaff with his prize – a good-sized fly

He ate it and sat for a while longer before flying off over the river and the road to trees on the other side.

The chiffchaff after polishing off his meal. He certainly looks well-fed and healthy

The chiffchaff after polishing off his meal. He certainly looks well-fed and healthy

I don’t suppose they will be around in these numbers for much longer, but what a joy it has been to see them and I hope they all thrive throughout the rest of the spring and summer wherever they go.