So with only my dissertation to write, and over a period of two months, I decided to take a 'day on, day off' approach so I hopefully had time to work my way through it without stress whilst still allowing me time to get plenty of stuff twitched and seen.
So for my first day off I decided to visit the Iberian Chiffchaff in Telford, Shropshire. I had a look, saw I could do it, then waited on news in the morning, and when positive news came in I set off. I was with the bird by half 1 in the afternoon. As soon as I got on site I heard it singing in the trees and was soon on it showing very well.
The problem was, the bird has no distinctive plumage features, so when the bird stopped singing, which it often did for up to 20 mins at a time, you simply had no idea where it was. This problem was made worse for the fact that the woods were filled with normal Chiffchaffs, and a bush could contain at least five at a time, and you simply had no idea if the Iberian was in there with them. But when the bird did sing you often got fantastic views, including on one occasion when it was sat only a couple of feet away from my face.
For a little brown job it was a smart bird, and the song was really quite sweet. I tried to get some video footage of the song and have to some extent, although obviously the bird is barely in any of the video and its pretty shaky to say the least.
As for other birds on site, there were mainly only common woodland species including Jay, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler etc. I did grab my first Blackcap of the year though when a nice female emerged from the ivy and started feeding out in the open. A nice yeartick to add to the collection.
And thats the story of how I added Iberian Chiffchaff to my life list. A really smart bird and well worth the trip down.
Granville NR: Chiffchaff, Iberian Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Jay, Magpie, Willow Warbler,