The Chiffchaff are definatly making themselves heard out on the Common this morning.

Although the occasional Chiffchaff can be seen overwintering in Britain the majority migrate to France and the Mediterranean, returning in March or early April. 

As one of the first birds, they are often seen singing in the sparse summer branches of trees, and are considered an indicator that the spring migartion is underway.

They are often found in Mature, Broadleaved woodlands with thick undergrowth, and can regularly  be found in the woodlands around Yateley Common Country Park and Castle Bottom Nature Reserve.

What to look for:

Visually it is very difficult to distinguish the Chiffchaff from a Willow Warbler.  In flight the Chiffchaff is rather less accomplished and has a flitting action rather like a tit.

Growing to 11cm, the Chiffchaff is slightly smaller than a Willow Warbler and has a more rounded crown and shorter wings.   The tail of a Chiffchaff is fairly long and is constantly wagged, and it also has a much more prominent white eye-ring than the Willow Warbler, it’s plumage is not however as yellow  as the Warbler.

 Despite these visual differences the Chiffchaff is much easier to distinguish from the Willow Warbler by its call -its ‘Chiff’ and ‘chaff’ notes which it sings in irregular patterns.