Sean had taken a cracking photograph the other day that had whetted my appetite and as it had been years since I last saw a tristis Chiffchaff on the Island (2 on the Calf of Man in the 80's & 90's) then we decided to go and take a look.
Siberian Chiffchaff, near Bride, Isle of Man, Jan 2012 - (c) grayimages.co.uk
When we got to the field the bird was seen straight away by its favoured spot amongst some old, round bales. It's call was nothing like a 'standard' Chiffchaff, sounding very like a Dunnock.
It was in the field where we occasionally ring winter finches and buntings so we quickly set a 30' net by the bales and within 5 minutes the bird was caught.
We were able to confirm various features in the hand, being able to tick off several pointers to tristis in the BBRC guidelines:
Absence of olive in the crown and mantle - check
Absence of yellow away from the underwing - check
Presence of a grey-brown or pale brown hue in the upperparts - check
Presence of warm buff in the supercilium and ear coverts - check
Presence of buff at the breast-sides/flanks - check
Small dark bill and black looking legs - check
We also took a set of biometircs, which all fitted in the range for a tristis type. A stunning little bird - just a pity that neither of us had our cameras, having to revert to our mobile phone cameras instead!! As such these are the best we could come up with!
Top 2 by Kev, bottom 1 by Sean
We watched and listened to the bird for a while after releasing it back by the hay bales and it went straight back to feeding in its favoured area.
What a great start to the year!