A singing chiffchaff near the Medical Centre in Port Marine ends the suspense. It may have been here all winter, of course, but now is also the time for Mediterranean birds to be reaching our woodland and scrub, which still clings on in this part of town. Not for long if the developers have their way.
Look for chiffchaff in the Collins Bird Guide and you’ll find it lumped in at the end of all the other warblers. The IOC taxonomy, though, has its Phylloscopus family (which includes willow warbler) pretty much at the beginning after the bushtits, to which our long-tailed tit belongs. Then comes the Acrocephalus family – the reed warblers – and then a whole host of species worldwide until the Sylvia group, such as blackcap, makes its appearance.
So, that’s sorted the coming summer’s visitors into order. Now we just have to tick them off.