Chiffs that don’t chaff?

Sweeoo vs tuuit chiffchaffs

If, like us, you do a lot of birding by ear then you may have noticed that last autumn there was a passage of Common Chiffchaffs, a considerable number of which were using different calls from the typical “tuuit” call that we are all used to.

This was documented by a number of observers in Spain, including myself one day in October, when I heard what I thought must be a Yellow-browed Warbler. I hastily pulled out my phone and activated the Merlin app and it gave me “Common Chiffchaff”!

Common Chiffchaff

Common Chiffchaff – sweeo or tuuit?

“What? No!” I said to myself, and tried again, with the same result. Merlin was telling me again that that “sweeoo” call I was hearing was from a Common Chiffchaff. The truth is that when I set eyes on what I thought must be the bird making the call it looked just like a Common Chiffchaff.

So … Merlin 1 Steve 0

Obviously I was not the only observer to be taken in, as later this was published as something particular to that autumn, and quite widespread. The most likely explanation was that there was a larger than normal passage of juvenile birds which had not yet acquired the use of the typical “tuuit” call.

So, there you go. Be careful out there!

Another Iceland Tour? YES!

Another Iceland Tour

Autumn Northern Lights and Birds Combo Iceland Tour

Dates: 30th September to 6th October 2024

Come with us and enjoy the Northern Lights in Iceland

This year is predicted to be a good one for viewing the Northern Lights, from the autumn equinox onwards. So what have we done at Birding In Spain? We’ve arranged a Northern Lights and Birds Combo Tour for a return trip to Iceland.

Take some dark nights, like those around the new moon; add the autumn equinox, which is naturally a good time for the northern lights to make an appearance; take the year 2024 predicted to be a good one for the northern lights; join a northern lights cruise out of Reykjavik; and then leave the rest to the weather, because a cloud-free zone is all that you need!

However, we all know that Iceland is more than the Northern Lights. The things that don’t move too much include the amazing volcanic features, the waterfalls, glaciers, cliffs and headlands, in general – the amazing scenery of Iceland (and perhaps with the first snowfalls it can look even more striking).

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle, Iceland

Then the birds. The birds! The breeding season is over, but winter has not yet arrived, so many birds have moved to the coast, or are passing through and getting to them is not usually an issue the way it may be in the winter. What birds? Well, think of Harlequin Ducks, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, flocks of Geese, waders, Gyrfalcon, White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, loons, ducks, waders and more!

Ask us for more information. No compromise.

Just don’t regret passing by this unique tour!