15th April 2016 tristis Chiffchaff.

Overnight night rain with a light west wind. The precipitation didn’t do much to change the bird situation. The area toward the very highest point of the cliffs held a few birds, as it sometimes does when other areas don’t. The Old Trapping area held 5+ Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest whilst a male Wheatear (only my 2nd this spring) was near the cliff edge. A further 4+ Willow Warbler shared between Shooters and Belle Tout Wood. There were also 3 Blackcap dotted about with 5+ Chiffchaff seen. Talking of which, the bird below (which was just east of BT wood) had many attributes of tristis Chiffchaff although I can’t be sure I heard it call. Some more images can be found on John Coopers blog here.

I’ve reproduced a response below from Mark Mallalieu, who has undertaken a lot of work with this group.

“Lovely photos and looks spot on for tristis to me.  Colour in this subspecies varies a great deal depending on the light, but hopefully the description will confirm that shades of olive were limited mainly to fringes of remiges and retrices, as the photos appear to show. Look forward to seeing submission to SOSRC.”

“tristis” Chiffchaff.


“tristis” Chiffchaff.

The only area of the bird to hold yellow/olive tone were remiges and retrices as mention.


Shot above by John Cooper.


“tristis” Chiffchaff.


“tristis” Chiffchaff.

At this angle the browner ear coverts appear quite obvious. In other photo’s/angles not.


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