Since they arrived last Friday, Wheatears have been a daily feature on the patch. I know what you're thinking - that I don't blog enough about Wheatears at this time of year. Undoubtedly true, and the proof is that I didn't see one yesterday. One was out on the Flats somewhere, but I chose to spend the precious time I had staking out Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers elsewhere. As I've worked this patch for longer, I've gradually worked out individual trees and drumming sites that seem to get used by Woodpeckers (of both drumming types) on a relatively consistent basis year after year (until they're chopped down....) I'm determined that one of these days I'll get a decent photo of one.
I'm still waiting. In the hour and half that I spent, finger poised, the Woodpecker came close three times, but each time chose a different tree to the one I had lined up. Clearly intelligent birds, far more so than me. It drummed briefly, and then flew off before I could even think about changing position. Instead I turned my attention to other birds, including the humble and under-appreciated Blue Tit. If you came from a country where there were no Blue Tits, and then came here and saw one at close range, you would fall over yourself to get an even better look. I'm hopeful of being able to spend a lot more time observing Blue Tits at close range, because a few years ago I put up a Sparrow nest box. Sparrows have never gone near it, but last year it was used by Blue Tits and I've just discovered that it's being used by them again. I deliberately put it in an extremely awkward place for predators, and unfortunately the same level of awkwardness also applies to photographers, which is shame as I'd otherwise get some killer opportunities. But as I sit at my desk working I am immensely cheered by the comings and goings of these little stunners. When you get down to the nitty gritty of it, not many birds are as brilliantly colourful, nor as plentiful and confiding, so I intend to talk them up a lot. Until a family of Bee-eaters move in.