Saturday, February 02, 2008


Chiffchaff P.(c.) tristis? Cambridge, 2 February 2008, © Pete Holt
A cracking little bird which showed itself all too briefly
on two dates only. Hasty record shots with hand-held Canon
D400, 300mm, ISO 1600 in low light as the bird darted about
close to the ground. Pro-tristis features include the
apparently total lack of yellow in the plumage away from the
underside of the shoulder, green restricted to the rectrices
and remiges, buff supercilium and ear coverts, small black
bill with narrow pale cutting edges and black legs. A buff
wash on the breast and flanks is also pro-tristis, but is
quite pale on this bird. Having studied a number of tristis
images recently, the richer brown colour on the forehead and
on the top front part of the eye ring also seem consistent
for birds accepted as this form. Unfortunately, no
vocalisations were heard (PH).

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