Saturday 16 September 2017

The inevitable

Wouldn't it be nice to wander round unencumbered by a camera I said to myself this morning. Wouldn't it be lovely to have no excess weight to lug around. Just me and my bins, back to basics. I rarely get decent opportunities on the Flats anyway, too busy. I'll just leave the whole lot at home, wonderful. I don't know if any of you readers who are also keen on photography feel the same way, but whilst I feel rather 'naked' without my camera I also feel liberated - it comes with being able to be a birder as well, a birder first probably.

And it was rather nice early on as I trotted around my usual circuit. Quiet and uneventful, but extremely pleasant, as the sun rose a low mist formed across the area. I met Tony by Alex, nothing doing, and together we headed back to the VizMig point. A pair of Little Owls caught his attention in one of the copses, the first time I've set eyes on them this year having had a "heard only" experience during the summer. They flew up from the ground and into the canopy, not to be seen again, but we think we now know where the nest hole might be.

Over to the usual area by the brooms for a bit of a chat and Bob spots a distant Chaffinch. In fact the Hawthorn it is in is alive, three Chiffchaff, various Tits and also a spanking male Chaffinch Common Redstart! You can never get that close to Redstarts here, and there is always a lot of foliage etc, I was perfectly happy not to have a camera. Meanwhile Bob and Tony advance on the tree. And get closer. And closer. And closer. The Redstart pops up on a bare branch right in front of them, sits stock still and puffs out its chest. A torrent of shutter abuse follows, whereupon they gather around Tony's camera and high-five each other. Then Bob zooms up his and they exchange hugs and punch the air. They are amongst the best Redstart photos I think I have ever seen! Reluctantly, and with my tail firmly between my legs, I head home to dig out my lens. Why does this always happen?

It was still there when I got back about a quarter of an hour later, and meanwhile James had been having his fill. I must say it was a friendly little thing, but that soft morning light had rather disappeared. My best efforts are below, and whilst I'm pleased, I am nonetheless left ruing my early morning decision to travel light as the opportunity earlier on was simply golden. Nevermind, it was a little beauty and I don't think I've seen one better, here or anywhere else, and I hadn't expected to see one again this year so rather a treat. Other bird highlights were 50 or so Swallow, a couple of three species of Wagtail, and some good Meadow Pipit action.

This final image is actually a composite of two images with some funky leaf work, inspired by one of my fellow patch-workers!


  1. The Law of Sod in operation. At least it had the decency to hang around for your return.