Saturday 10 January 2015

Siberian Chiffchaff in Osaka

This bird was discovered around Christmas time as I was heading off to Kyushu. There has been some debate locally whether it is tristis or a different taxon. When I went to see it yesterday (9th Jan) the sky was overcast and I judged the light good to reveal true colour tints. Images I'd seen online showed a very green bird, this green I'd thought an artifact of images taken in strong sunlight.

I arrived at 1:30pm after working in the morning but was told it hadn't been seen since about 10am and that it was usually only seen in the morning. That was a blow! There were 30-40 people waiting for it but only 2-3 wandering around checking other areas. I walked about some way up and down stream from its favoured spot on the river bank then had a look through gardens further away from the river. No sign it. On my second southward patrol I saw the then distant knot of birders were fully focused on something, someone ran for his tripod, it had to be back! I legged it back as quick as dignity would allow, fortunately having previously found two birds on Hegurajima I didn't need to run.

And there it was in the crown of one of the trees with a party of Long-tailed Tits. If it had stayed there shots against even the dull light would have been less good than I'd have liked but it eventually did drop into the riverside vegetation before moving quickly off down stream still associated with the party of Tits. 

Even in this light the bird was strikingly greenish. Much greener than either of the other two tristis I've seen and I even wondered about Eastern Bonelli's for a moment, as ridiculous as that might seem. After getting the images onto the pc last night I'm confident it is tristis afterall. The shots below are all cropped to some extent and a couple are slightly sharpened but the colours are as the camera recorded them.

The blurring will play a part here but I was shocked to see how bright the underwing coverts are in this shot, the greenish rump was fairly easy to detect in the field but I'd never seen the underwing coverts. Below are a couple of heavily cropped shots.

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