Nests 2013

WK white_green WEB LARGE

I was very excited when I spotted a chiffchaff with a beak full of leaves, disappearing into a bank of ivy and bramble opposite my house. I watched he for a while, trying to locate where she was building. The nest is incredibly well camouflaged and it took me a while to find it. .....

ChiffChaff Pete Walkden

Chiffchaff by Pete Walkden

The Chiffchaff is a summer visitor to Britain and is one of the first warblers to arrive, its distinctive 'Chiff chaff' call announcing its return. I first heard them call here on the 29th April; pretty late this year and by mid-week, I noticed one on a bank opposite my house, with a beak full of leaves.

Chiffchaffs feed on insects, such as midges and other flies, and caterpillars and moths, which they find by foraging in tree canopies and among bushes. Their latin name, Phylloscopus collybita, means leaf explorer and Chiffchaffs often search the undersides of leaves for aphids.

On doing some research, I discovered that the Chiffchaff female builds a domed nest of grass and leaves and lines it with feathers. She then lays between 4 - 9 eggs which she incubates for bewteen 13 - 14 days. The young fledge after 12 - 15 days.


I spotted the female as she was very active in the week with huge beaks full of grass and leaves. She was disappearing into a bank tangled with ivy and brambles.

Watching her carefully, I attempted to make a mental note of where she was disappearing, but despite a few tentative trips over there, I just could not see the nest. I did not want to disturb her at all, so withdrew and watched again.

On my third trip over there, I finally spotted it, deep within the foliage; a lovely woven dome with a tiny circular entrance!

I mounted a camera on a pole, estimated the distance and carefully lowered it into place, as close as I dared to go. I did not want to risk disturbing her in any way.

I was delighted when she returned within minutes of me retreating and continued to build all afternoon.

Chiffchaff nest 2

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Watch all the videos from my ChiffChaff nest on my YouTube playlist

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