Although this little warbler can be seen all year round, most of its kind migrate in August and September, which is why, during the past couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing an awful lot of these pretty birds in my local parks and nature reserves. They’ve been fattening up on flies and other insects before they head south to the Mediterranean and west Africa.
This is the Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita. As it has a tendency to nest low down amongst brambles and evergreen shrubs, it has earned itself such vernacular names as bank-bottle and bank jug, but I have no idea where most of its other common names originate from: feather bed, feather pokel, huck muck, lesser pettychaps, Peggy, sally picker, thummie, and wood oven.
One thing I have learnt about the Chiffchaff, however, is to try to get a good look at the colour of its legs because if it’s not singing its distinctive ‘chiff chaff’ song, then its dark-coloured legs are one way to tell it apart from its look-alike, the Willow warbler.