Saturday, 21 April 2012

Black Redstart and Wheater

I strolled around the local patch today hoping it had improved since my last visit.
I started on the rifle range but this was completely dead – I don’t think I saw any passerines at all, just the resident jackdaws, fulmars and a few gulls, so I quickly moved onto the cliff top.
The scrub near Kingsdown golf clubhouse held a couple of chiffs and a black cap so no improvement on my last visit but my spirits were lifted by a female black redstart that was working its way along the road via the gardens/garden fences.



Black redstart

Moving on a couple of swallows went past then I found a common whitethroat – my first here this year. I tried but he wouldn’t pose for the camera.
For the rest of the walk to Hope Point I saw very little other than the local linnets and a few more swallows (I had 12 in total)
I was standing around at Hope point trying to decide whether there were 4 or 5 jays in the bushes when a trio of yellow hammers alighted some 25 yards away. They didn’t stay long but that’s the largest “flock” I have seen up there this year.

Yellow hammer

Also a Hope point were a few mippits and a male bull finch but the latter was miles away so no pictures.
The walk back to the car was a repeat of the outward journey, including re-finding the black redstart but 2 sand martins went past.
I had to be home by 10.00 so I thought that was that for the day.
Whilst at home I got a text saying a possible Iceland gull had been seen from the Rifle Range so once my homely duties had been fulfilled I returned.
Well, as you’ve probably guessed there was no sign of the gull but at the end of the range I found a couple of rock pipits (the tide was now in and they are always easier to find when they’ve been pushed off the beach) and 2 male wheatears.
The rock pipits shot off before I could get near but the wheatears performed very well for the camera.


At one point one of the wheatears disappeared down a hole and I moved a  closer and waited for him to emerge. It took several minutes but eventually he emerged and seemed unperturbed by my presence. He stood guard at the mouth of the hole for 10-15 minutes even flying out towards me to catch insects before returning to his guard duties.


Guard duty

Sadly there is absolutely no chance of him nesting there due to disturbance – from birders, dog walkers, fisherman.
So nothing out of the ordinary but a pleasant morning and some pleasing pictures.


  1. Sounds a better morning for you Steve, I would be extremeley pleased to have that number of subjects to photograph.

  2. I agree with Steve; very nice collection of birds and photos.

  3. Getting a few migrants there now Steve, still time for more yet :-) Get that camera ready!