Birds of Summer - music track

‘Chiff chaff' those two notes change everything.

From about the second week in March, I strain my ears – willing those magical notes to come out  of the dawn.  My wildlife highlight of the year is hearing the first chiffchaff – every year. it’s a ritual with me.

What makes it so special?  The Chiffchaff is usually the first of the summer migrants I encounter. It’s heralds a mass immigration.  A glorious influx of avian biomass from the South. Small feathered  creatures that maybe only days earlier were sharing African savannahs with Attenborough-bothering mega-fauna.

As bird songs go, it’s not much to write home about –  monotonous in fact. I can’t help thinking that if I'm reincarnated  as a Chiffchaff, I might mix it up a bit – throw in the odd ‘Chuff'.  Maybe even do a remix.

Still, magical it remains.  The patch isn’t quite the same.  What was wintery and grey is given a sheen of spring. The world is suddenly brighter – replete with possibilities – it actually feels warmer.

So on Tuesday (14th Match) I heard my first Chiffchaff of the year.  Everything, for that moment at least, seemed right with world. The earth had continued to turn on its axis. Spring had arrived once more.

To celebrate the arrival of the first of the migrants I made this track. It comprises exclusively of samples of  the calls and songs of Summer migrants I've seen on the patch.

The percussion is Winchat, Wheatear, Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler.

The fluty, synthy and bassy notes are all sampled and processed notes of Blackcap and Garden warbler song - slowed down then put through (virtual) guitar pedals or vocoded.

There is also Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Tree Pipit, Spotted flycatcher, Swift and Cuckoo.

More of my so-called 'tunes'  here 

Samples have a creative commons licence - courtesy of Peter Boesman, Per Poulsen, Patrik Åberg

Get this


  1. I'm with you on the Chiffchafs being the forbearer of summer, not heard one in full song yet this year, just the duller "wheet" call earlier in the week, but I am looking forward to it that is for sure.

    And great tune, really interesting.

    1. Cheers Ashley, heard a couple more nearby yesterday, so there's a few about despite a slow migration season so far

  2. Loving the migrant mashup! :) I haven't heard any Chiffchaffs yet here, but great to know they're starting to arrive. (Sorry, I was a bit slow there to spot your post!)

  3. Damn! 'Migrant Mashup' is a much better name than blimin' 'Birds of Summer' - why didn't I think of that?? - can I use it?...somewhere.

    I think there was quite a big arrival of Chiffchaffs on Wednesday/Thursday - two more on the patch and several places had their first - now the wind has changed more migrants should start to arrive.

    1. Lol - feel free to use 'Migrant Mashup' as you please! :)


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