Your Sightings

What wildlife to look for in May 2018

Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wood Warbler

Late April / early May is synonymous with the dawn chorus and bird song. The Chiffchaff and Willow Warblersong is a component of this chorus especially where there is woodland or maturing scrub. Both species arerelatively easy to identify by song.

Chiffchaffs are a dull green above and pale yellow below, with an off-white belly and a short eyebrow stripe. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs are very similar, olive-coloured warblers, so are best identified by their song: Chiffchaffs sing ‘chiff chaff chiff chaff’. Willow Warblers have pale legs, while Chiffchaff legs are dark grey / black.


Dark legs
Dull olive green upperparts

– a short pale supercilium

– off white underparts with

– variable yellow tones

Primary projection only half the length of the tertials

Song short and disyllabic – repeated Chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff

Constantly flicks its tail

Willow Warbler

Pale legs (not always)
Pale grey green upperparts

– a strong yellowish supercilium
– and white belly
– yellowy white throat & breast
Primary projection equal to the tertial length

Song fluid and descending notes Flicks tail every so often

Which one is the Chiffchaff and which is the Willow Warbler? Answers below!



(Answer: Chiffchaff on the left and Willow Warbler on the right)

Happy Searching,

Jack Daw


Send all sightings to: Ian & Keith Davison, The Bungalow, Branton, Powburn, NE66 4LW Or by email to

If you have wildlife queries you can email them to redsquirrel@alnwickwildlife – and they will be forwarded to an appropriate member who will try to answer them. No promises, mind – none of us are great experts!