I usually reckon to hear my first chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) on, or just after, the 15th March each year; they are suddenly there in the bare branches of the trees calling their repetitive "chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff "song. I am always pretty chuffed when I first hear them as they are one of the heralds of spring for me but after a while they are quickly taken for granted and I look for 'more interesting' things!
The chiffchaff is usually back here a good three weeks or so before its close cousin, the willow warbler. The two are virtually indistinguishable in appearance up in the tree tops and it is through their songs that one can confidently tell them apart. Often heard but not always seen, the chiffchaff can be difficult to track down and photograph as it is continually on the move amongst the branches. It is obviously easier to do it early in the spring before the leaves appear on the trees.
Despite generally being a migrant species wintering in Africa you may see a chiffchaff during the winter months and it was once thought that some birds just decided not to head south in the autumn but ringing has shown that our winter birds are generally migrants from colder parts of Europe who decide that Dorset is warm enough for them and heading even further south is not worth the effort.
This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:
This map shows the nature reserves and 'hot-spots' featured on the Nature of Dorset where this species has been seen. Obviously it will occur in other places too but this is intended to give you a graphical guide as to the species distribution in Dorset. Click any marker to see the name of the site; you can then click again to see more information about that site.
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The Small Print!
This website has been created by, and is the copyright of, Peter Orchard, Wareham, Dorset. The website is run as a hobby and the information is made available free of charge to anyone who finds it useful. No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions in the data and information supplied. Copyright of all photographs on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains with the publisher or the contributor and they should not be used by others for any purpose without permission.
Please note that the data on this website is not the result of scientific research, it is a collection of random observations made by a very amateur enthusiast. The species database covers everything from mammals to fungi and no one can be an expert in all of these taxa and much of the identification is restricted by the quality of reference material available. One person cannot possibly produce the definitive guide to the nature of Dorset and so species lists will be incomplete and there will be reserves not covered but as time goes by so the database will grow and (depending on health and the weather) the content will become more comprehensive as time passes.
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