I thought you might be interested in this Chiffchaff that Andy Humphreys came across on Runcorn Hill LNR on Sunday 21st December in area of heathland called ‘The East Quarry’. The bird was bathing in a small pool and was also heard to call several times a distinct Bullfinch like “peep”.
The bird by call ticks the right box for an Eastern Chiffchaff but some of the plumage features falls into that shadowy area of a grey Chiffchaff. Note the all black bill, complete absence of any green or yellow on mantle and head, grey mantle, pale super and almost white underparts. There is a faint ‘double’ wing bar (a little odd) caused by the pale tips to the greater and median coverts. The cheeks are also pale or appear so from the photographs. There is the Bonellis Warbler like effect caused by the contrast between the mantle and the yellowish colour on the closed wing and a faint trace can be noted on the tail.
There are three collybita race present elsewhere on the hill and these can be heard at any time of the day. Incidently, I did hear the what sounded like a tristis “peep” calling yesterday by the bowling greens in the formal park.
If you decide to pay a visit over the next few days then any comments and/or photographs would be welcomed. I have included a map of Runcorn Hill where Andy spotted the “Chiffchaff”. The access is best from the car park off Highlands road and then walk east or through the hill walks to the East Quarry (see map below).
Also of interest was a Nordic Jackdaw with the 73 Common Jackdaw on the football fields on Park Road last week and worth having a look for.