It all started on Sunday night whilst I was watching the Germans play fitba (too much time in Scotland, where they don't seem to play fitba, or Football for that matter) when Tim rang to say he had a prob Ibe Chiff at Grimston. I went through and heard it singing and calling and it all sounded good the bird giving a downslurred reed bunting like seeuu call and a song with 3 component note types 'chiff chiff chiff swee swee swee der der der der, however as it was quite late in the evening and it was raining it wasn't as vocal as we'd have liked so we agreed to try again the next morning.
Monday morning was bright enough and the bird was singing almost constantly, it also called at least 15 times. We saw it well at distance through scopes and managed to record the song so it all looked sorted. Trouble was when I got home the song hadn't come out well at all on the videos I'd taken due mainly to too much wind. So we were left with our notes on the plumage and our written transcription of the song, not really satisfactory.
I went back in the evening and had loads more attempts at recording it but still found most were poor. We needed to get the bird closer to the phone so I played a bit of song and then the calls from the Andreas Shulze recording to it and hey presto it came to within 5 or 6 feet of my head and started shivering it's wings and calling a lot, for the next ten minutes it sang it's head off moving from tree to tree in a display flight with it's tail half cocked and it's wings fluttering. I've never seen a bird respond so convincingly to a bit of playback. Another interesting point is that at times it's withing 15 metres of a pair of Chiffchaffs which are nesting but they have never once sung or engaged in any territorial disputes with it so they obviously don't see it as a threat.
I managed to get one or two recordings where you can tell what it is but I still wish I'd got round to buying that parabolic dish and mic!
These are probably the best bits of song I managed but you'll have to listen carefully, the first burst starts at 33 seconds and then just at the end of the vid.
As most of you will have seen from pager reports most of the areas Tim birds at Grimston are private and he alone has permission to work them. This bird is half a mile from the nearest public footpath or road and surrounded by trees so there is no chance of seeing it unless access is allowed. Tim has asked if the owners will allow access but they have refused. Fortunately there shouldn't be anyone upset by this decision as the well twitched bird is still present at Potteric should anyone be desperate to see one. Better not to push for access this time when the bird is no longer important and save it for a really big one we think.