Yesterday morning almost the first thing I heard when coming through the North Gate was the call of a Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)! It then gave a very brief, weak burst of song – just one “chiff chaff” followed by the odd grunting sound that can be heard at close range between “chiff chaff”s when one is singing in the spring. Chiffchaffs are migrants, arriving in Edinburgh in late March or early April and leaving in the autumn. Very small numbers have, however, started to spend the winter in Britain, mostly in southern England. Last year, however, there was one in Figgate Park on the east side of Edinburgh and in December 2011 no fewer than three Chiffchaffs were recorded in the RBGE Woodland Garden by Laura and Hugh Coventry who often visit the Garden to record birds and dragonflies (H. Coventry, pers. comm. 20 Jan. 2014). It’s too early to say if yesterday’s visit was a one-off or whether the bird will remain for a while.