Tuesday 29 March 2016

Drive-by Stonechat

Water End nr Hemel: After Wheatears in the sun yesterday, it was a Stonechat in the rain today…viewed from the car. I’m no fool.

I had commitments for much of the day, so my first chance to see if the bird reported earlier was still about was after 16:30, just as the rain moved in. I parked up and scanned the fence line from the car. Well marked, spring male Stonechats stand out like daisies on a hillside. There he was, jet black head, brilliant white collar and that warm orange-russet chest. Even through the murk and pouring rain he was stunning. I watched him fly down to the farmed field and return with a whopper of a worm. That soon disappeared and he continued to work his way along the fence line until he was as near as he ever got to the car. I watched him a while longer and then called it a night. Crossing my fingers he might still be around tomorrow….in the sunshine.

Monday 28 March 2016

Wheatears hit Water End

Well, hello everyone. It’s been a fair old while! Where do I begin? How about I just dive in with today’s stuff. The remnants of storm Katie, followed by a flat car battery and an hour’s wait for “home assist” made sure I didn’t leave the house this morning. That fiasco was closely followed by an afternoon fighting the urge to snooze, until, at about 16:30, I crowbarred myself off the sofa and out into the blustery sunshine.

With not a lot of energy, the horse paddock just north of Hemel, at Water End, seemed like a good plan. I really wasn’t expecting anything, sure that others would have checked the site earlier in the day. But, hey, I got lucky. Not one but two gorgeous Spring male Wheatears: a much needed antidote to the winter hangover and proof that spring really is taking hold, thank goodness.

One bird would occasionally hop over the paddock fence line into the adjacent ploughed field, blending in perfectly with the earthy tones

Spot the birdie

The two Spring males: one had a stubby tail (top bird), the other had a pronounced/very striking white supercilium (bottom bird)