Tristis has made a number of guest appearances in old Berkshire bird reports; usually in the form of "... bird showing the characteristics of the Siberian race tristis ...". The Birds of Berkshire reports, however, a (first) record of the species at Wraysbury (CDRH) in 1984. Since then reports of tristis have been more guarded and in the latest (2003) report a record of a bird at Bray, again, "showing characteristics ..." was heard to "hweet" emphasising, as the report says, "the racial identification of Chiffchaffs is far from straight forward"
This bird was found, by Graham Stephenson, at Sandhurst STW and as well as "showing the characteristics of the Siberian race tristis" it was also heard to give the sad "eeeep" call of tristis (both by GS & JOB, independently). This evidence doesn't, however, prove to be decisive as Alan Dean, on the Berksbirds yahoo group, points out " ... distinguishing between tristis and some fulvescens in the field is rarely possible" and apparently "eastern populations of abietinus also call like tristis". Alan, as well as giving some notes on tristis and his opinion on the possible id of this bird, has also co-hosted an excellent photo-forum on tristis id
So whether it'll ever be possible to
say if it's a 'Sibe chiff' or not, who knows.
There is another greyish bird - thisone
which I've heard call
[click to hear - this was while feeding]
and give short snatches of bisyllabic, undulating
song of about
eight or ten notes (with GS & on my own)
... a bit like 'cheewi-ti cheew-wee cheweeti cheew-eee
... ' This bird, in fact, looks more the
part, I think, and if it stays long enough and sings a little more it may
offer another puzzle. It is more difficult to photograph as it stays
deeper in the trees than the cleaner bird ....
[neither birds are nearly as brown as
this bird at Portland]