On Good Friday I was up in Barrow to watch the Bluebirds play league leaders Forest Green. If I said that I travelled more in hope than expectation that would overstate the optimism involved, but I was pleasantly confounded as a brilliant 4-0 win set up a potential Great Escape from relegation. Before that though I spent some time hanging round the train station just south of the Holker Street football ground.
An Iberian Chiffchaff was reported on the Thursday singing from trees adjacent to Platform 3. I don’t know who heard it, I know people who arrived soon after the news was put out and didn’t hear anything. It still felt worth a punt though even a day after for a Cumbrian first, and I had a stroll down Hibbert Road next to the train tracks.
There was no Chiffchaff of any kind singing. Normal Chiffchaffs sing ‘chiff chaff chiff chaff’. Iberian Chiffchaffs, which as the name suggests are normally found no further north than Spain, start their songs in the same way but finish with more of a flourish. It can get messy though, as some normal ‘Chiffs’ can have aberrant songs reminiscent of Iberian Chiffchaff. Hopefully recordings were obtained and the record can be confirmed.
The trees that had attracted the Chiffchaff were home to a residents garden that was heart warming to see. I took a few pictures before leaving for the match.
A quick circuit of Ormsgill Reservoir produced the singing Cetti’s Warbler still surprisingly holding territory, an early brood of Greylag Geese and a rather large and presumably quite long lived terrapin.
I may follow up at some point on the Chiff Chaffs in another post. What was once just ‘Chiffchaff’ is now generally thought to be several species. Siberian and Iberian Chiffchaffs are forms now regarded as species, both apparently becoming more regular in Britain and in the former case for reasons not fully understood. In the case of Iberian Chiffchaffs climate change is clearly a factor, though even then and delightful though the Hibbert Road garden is it’s surprising one would alight even only briefly at Barrow railway station.