First chiffchaff in Belstone?

posted in: Belstone Blog, Wildlife | 0

The first chiffchaff of the year was seen in a Belstone garden yesterday (Monday 25 February) and confirmed today when it opened its mouth and started chiffchaffing. This is by far the earliest date that I have seen or heard a chiffchaff in the parish in 41 years of (intermittent) records of first sightings, although I do have a note that Mike Watson heard a chiffchaff in Billy Green Woods, Sticklepath, on 9 February 2006. My first chiffchaff record dates back to 2 April 1978 and early April/late March is the average first date. The previous earliest date in my records is 10 March 1990. The latest first date I have is 17 April 2013, following a very cold March and early April. I’ve also seen early butterflies today, comma, red admiral and large white, all on the wing because of the very mild sunny weather of late.  Has anyone else got any early birds to report?                 Chris Walpole