I started my regular birding route in New Bradwell to walk to Old Wolverton with the first lights. Upon my arrival, a very green Common Chiffchaff welcomed me, accompanied by a normal-looking Common Chiffchaff. When I entered the Stonebridge Pits eastern trail, a strange songbird call drew my attention. I soon found the bird, which appeared to be a Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis.
The bird looked greyish with hints of olive green on the wing covers, especially on the secondaries. The upper tail covers seemed to have the same olive tone but it was only visible at certain angles. The mantle a the back was grey, while the underparts were dirty with the lack of buff-brown colours. Legs seemed to be black.
I recorded its continuous contact call while I enjoyed the close view as it was feeding in the Willows and a dead Broadleaf Cattail patch.
It was my 3rd Siberian Chiffchaff observation in Britain and the second self-found. It brought back fond memories of my first experience with this ‘species’ in Hungary in 2008 with my friend Szabolcs Kókay.