Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers are hard to tell apart and both might be stopping off in your garden, like the Chiffchaff is in ours, filling up on their way south for winter migration. If you get the right view, you can see that Chiffchaff’s have dark legs, and, migrating shorter distances, have shorter wings. Willow Warblers have pale pinky-orange legs, are usually more yellow in overall colour, and have longer wings for longer migration. The photo’s should help! Conditions: Cloudy Temperature: Max 15- Min 11C.
Chiffchaff- A blue-tit-sized warbler, very active, flitting through small trees searching for insects among branches, and sometimes out to catch them mid-air. It’s Chiff-chaff call makes it easy to identify in spring, while singing, but less easy to distinguish from the slightly brighter Willow Warbler, once breeding is over. It has darker legs, and tends to feed higher in trees than the Willow Warbler. Most of ours migrate to the Mediterranean over winter but some, like these, migrate in from Scandinavia and increasingly stay over winter. Conditions: Mostly light cloud. Temperature: Max 12- Min 7C.
Chiffchaff preening in the autumn sun
Chiffchaff showing its light eye-stripe
Changing nature: Too-early Bluebells (in numbers not just the odd one) serenaded by too-early Chiffchaff’s. This one a long way up in a big Ash tree, in this part of East Sussex where I’ve already started seeing Ash die-back, so soon this sight may not be so common. Now I’ve just had a message from a friend in mid-Wales (thanks Liz) who has just seen her first Swallow and Willow Warbler! Times are certainly changing. Conditions: After thunder and tremendous downfalls of rain last night, a calmer, cloudy day. Temperature: Max 12- Min 5c.
Early Chiffchaff singing at the top of a big Ash
Like many birds, Chiffchaffs chose a high vantage point from which to sing
The native Broom seems pretty early too