Tuesday, 25 August 2009


It is 6:40am on Wanstead Flats. I am returning home in deep misery after yet another early start has produced no migrants. As I cross Centre Road, only about four minutes from home and a day of drudgery likely to involve a pink brush, I notice a bird in a tree. I decide it is a Robin, but start walking towards the tree anyway in the hope of it turning into a Tree Pipit. As I am about halfway there, the bird flies, across the Flats and towards my house. I idly track it with the bins, more convinced than ever that it is just a Robin. As it comes in to land in a distant Hawthorn, I detect a red flash, but NOT ON THE BREAST. Oooooh goody! At this point I am undecided between Nightingale and Redstart, but I know it is good. Just as I get to the Hawthorn, it flies again, and this time perches out in the open in the morning sun. Common Redstart, and a lovely male at that. My camera is helpfully lying on the sofa at home. After unsuccessfully attempting digi-binning it with my phone, I run home to get it, hacking all the way as I have some kind of throat lurgy. Luckily it is still there and I can now present some record shots* of it to demonstrate I am a proper patch birder and not some filthy year-listing twitcher who buggers off at the slightest opportunity.

*Record Shot obtained in this instance by being out of breath, wheezing heavily, and shaking, coupled with poor application of exposure theory. Nice.

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