Wednesday, 11 May 2011


I just can't get enough of those Chiffchaffs along the Wirral Way.

Being an avid Patch-watcher I am getting used to seeing these birds as I head out looking for adventure and incedent around the muddy banks of the Dee.

So much so that I am now familiar with several pairs of them, familiar enough to give them names. Not individual names but rather ones that define where they are nesting. There is the Simon's Bridge pair, the Ditch Willow pair and the Dunny Path pair to name but three.

It is this final pair that I got to study and record in depth a few days ago. I chose them because I reckon I can hang around to get a few pictures without causing them any undue disturbance or stress. This is because their territory takes in a well used bench and a great hare watching vantage point as well as a particularly busy section of Wirral Way.

So they will be well used to cyclists passing by and people stopping on the bench.

As I close in on their patch I hear the male long before I see him. He's defending his home range and his girl from atop an old, wizzened Oak.
I decide to sit on the bench for a while so they get used to me being around. Truth be told it had been a long  day at work too, so I was after a chill out before I deployed the kit and started taking pictures. Once I finish work my photography starts and a 20 minute cycle ride home can now take me nearly 2 hours there is so much to see!

The birds carry on with their normal behavoiur as if I am not there.

Male sings....

Female skulks in the luxuriant hedgerows....

They know I am there but remain unconcerned for the duration of my stay. They do check me out on occasion....

I've been stared at by the Ditch Willow male before and now the Dunny Path Chiffy checks me out. They look oddly sinister, well as sinister as a tiny leaf-warbler can!

They come close in and fill the viewfinder, I take their portrait....

As I continue to watch them they watch the leaves of the hawthorns, ashes and willows that make up the hedgerow in their territory. I've posted about these birds before and their amazing sharp eyes spotting and catching insects but it really is great to watch. They certainly do live up to their name of leaf-watchers.
They dart about amongst the twigs and branches, disappearing into the Hawthorns that are in full leaf, reappearing on the later leafing Ash and Oak branches. Always busy, constantly on the move, the male only stopping briefly to assert his authority over his patch.

I see them framed in twigs, portrait and landscape, decorations on the hedgerow wall of the Wirral Way.

These guys are really common and are often overlooked, but are well worth some attention. The window on thier world is open along the Wirral Way for the next few weeks.

I recommend you take a look....

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