Friday, 27 March 2015

The Chiff Chaffs are Singing in Newark!

Spring is three weeks later than last year.

That's what the chiff chaffs are telling me. Not that I've ever seen one, no for me to spot such a tiny warbler high up in the trees would be impossible. But the call, the other major sign of spring besides the appearance of brimstones, is as loud and distinctive as anything you will hear from the local avian choir.

Today, I heard it for the first time in 2015.

I was running on the lovely little section of country that separates Clay Lane from Beacon Hill estate. I had flushed an angrily croaky pheasant, a bird I am seeing in increasing numbers in unfamiliar spots this year, and had just caught site of the white rump of a jay - disturbed not by me but a squirrel - when I began to hear the familiar call, piercing above the sound of Radio 4 on my headphones.

The chiff chaff is a slightly aphasic bird to my ears, failing to understand why it has been given the name it has. Its song is nothing like its name, I always hear it as an aspirated "Doowoiooop Dooweieep", introed and outroed by a series of flighty trills. It sang as continued up the hill, and indeed as I left the park, fading out in the background.

The bird had a sense of history, as I'd heard the first one of 2014 in exactly the same location.

It wasn't the only one I heard either. As I entered the orchard in Sconce Hills park, a second bird was singing as I inspected the blossom, even more loudly than the one before. But, no matter where you look, following its call as it moves through the trees, you never ever see the bird that is singing so loud.

It's such an elusive bird, the chiff chaff!


Moorhen on the stomp

Celandine looking really good today

No sugar lumps for this Clay Lane horse

Was wondering if these were mules

Where I saw the pheasant croaking at me

The jay was in the trees off to the left

And here I heard the first chiff chaff

On the fringes of someone's garden. No idea.

The strange gas outflow on Beacon Hill reserve

Beacon Hill grasslands. In a short while the grasses will be waist high

Hail friend, well met!

As ever, the council groudskeepers do a great job here

Castle takes in the sun

Barges on the move today

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