Friday 6th November comments: The curious tale of modern day birding. In late September a very pale Chiffchaff was discovered on the island and was caught and ringed by the team at the Low Light (Alan Lauder, Julian Osborne, Ken Shaw et al). During the process a few feathers were shed by the bird and these were sent off for analysis.
Thanks to the great work of Professor Martin Collinson, the DNA results revealed that the bird had come from a core Yenesei range (central Russia) and indeed the bird was a confirmed ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff.
‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis is not a full species (not yet) and as the name suggests they originate from a large area north of Kazakhstan, central Russia and further east. There have been reports of birds over the years but with modern day science this is the first confirmed record on the Isle of May. Who said birding was dull?