Surfing the Spring

As a song it would win no prizes. The ‘song’ is a repetitive two note announcement that the trees are shortly to come into leaf. So remarkably dull is the song that the bird is named after it – what else is there to say? The Chiffchaff is a warbler, relatively nondescript with a seemingly green hue above and a paler buff coloured chest. It’s close relations such as the Blackcap and the Willow Warbler have slightly more elaborate songs which are welcome in any garden. The Chiffchaff on the other hand, sounds so disappointing and even slightly irritating.

But the sound is welcome nevertheless. It nearly always the first summer migrant to arrive and announce itself. Early on Tuesday morning it trumpeted its arrival in Brampton. After wiling away the winter somewhere along the Mediterranean coats, perhaps in North Africa, it arrives after surfing the spring northwards. It can be heard throughout the spring, but its call is most insistent before the leaves arrive – over the next fortnight or so it will be repeating itself all over the village.

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