Its been raining all week-several inches so far, and the weekend forecast seemed to be more of the same (and cold). However, Saturday was supposed to be better, and not having travelled much for several weeks, we decided to go out.
Colin arrived at 0730 and it was raining. We drove up the A1 to Little Paxton arriving to intermittent light rain and drizzle. Did not take long to hear the first Nightingale. Staked out a few of the territories but the birds proved rather elusive, and it was only the usual Kingfisher Hide spot that delivered.
The rest of the walk was rather disappointing and we ended up getting a bit wet. Several swallows and my first swift went through, and there were a small number of Common Terns present.
Felt sorry for the large coach party disembarking as we got back to the car-it was chucking it down with a cold northerly wind.
We next went further up to Castor Hanglands where a probable Iberian Chiffchaff had been present for about a week. When we arrived at the right spot all I could hear was a Chiffchaff with a slightly odd song-throwing in extra chiffs, but it soon shut up. We met a birder who had heard and seen the bird so we hung around and eventually the classic Iberian song started up in a tall oak behind one of the ponds. It took a long time to locate the bird and it was only when another birder arrived that we saw it-the views were terrible.
Turned out to be the bird we first heard-the typical iberian song seemed to dominate for a while, then it would break into the normal Chiffchaff song, and occasionally it was mixing the two together. The most interesting version started off with a swee swee followed by a long chiff chaff sequence.
Now whether it is a typical Iberian, a mixed singer or a normal Chiff is debatable. My photos poor though they were showed a well marked bright bird with a prominent yellowish supercilium and throat. Were I to have not heard it singing I might have assumed it to be a Willow warbler.
The woodland flora was interesting with large numbers of Cowslips, some patches of Bluebells and areas of wild Garlic.
Initially the plan on leaving Castor was to go to the Ouse washes or maybe Graffham, but with it still raining and cold we decided to call it a day.