First of the summer migrants?

7th Mar 2015. I was on my way back from a trip to Kirkby today when I got a text from Chris Grimshaw, he was watching a chiffchaff just outside the hide at Marston.

It was still there when I arrived, a pale-looking individual, hardly any green, very different to the over-wintering birds that were last seen a couple of weeks ago, in a different area. This was new in. My first thoughts were that it could be a Siberian chiffchaff but later we heard it call. Was it the first summer visitor to the site or one that had been wintering somewhere else? Possibly of Siberian race (abietinus) ? Tricky.

Look at the differences in these photos, the first one is today’s bird, taken by Chris, the other is one of the ones from January.

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Other birds included a snipe, a few water rails, male stonechat, 150 fieldfares and a few redwings in the horse paddock, 3 tree sparrows along Hougham mill lane, and a little egret. The curlew  flock has recently been growing and has now reached 48. The oystercatchers were seen mating.