Sunday, 13 November 2011

Elusive Black Redstart

Saturday 12th November
Cool, misty, calm and dry.

This morning started with a bit of a hangover, so I didn't leave the house until nearly 8am, and I parked up at the end of Bishopstone lane. I decided it might be nice to have a peaceful walk below the cliffs, looking for rare wheatears etc. I was somewhat disappointed whereupon opening the car door I was treated to some very loud disco music pumping out of some woman's 'ghetto blaster' and 2 rather substantial people were jogging round the grassy area. I guess it's some kind of fitness class, perhaps not that popular with only 2 members, but do they really require pop music on a cliff top at 8am on a Saturday morning?

I moved quickly down to the beach and out of earshot of the music, and as it was low tide I walked east to the towers at Reculver. There were a few Curlew and Sanderling along the shore, and small numbers of Brent in the shallow water, and some Starlings and Redwings flew west, but otherwise it was quiet.

Around the rocks just west of the towers there were loads of small birds flitting around, so I was hopeful of finding something interesting, and my patience was rewarded with views of a beautiful male Black Redstart. I managed a few distant photos but it was quite tricky to get anywhere near. I was joined by Marc Heath and we chatted a while and waited for it to show better, which eventually it did. However, the rocks, the background, the light and the bird are all dull, so the pictures weren't great.

Black Redstart Reculver

We also had the 7 Snow Buntings fly in off the sea, presumably they had been flushed off the beach further east.

Other than several Robins and Meadow Pipits there wasn't much to add, so I wandered back to Bishopstone along the cliff top. There were many Skylarks, continually flushed by the dogs running around, and a single Redpoll flew south.

After a drink back at the car I took a short trip to Brook. Here I saw adult male and female Marsh Harriers, a Sparrowhawk and heard a Green Sandpiper calling in the distance. A couple of Mistle Thrushes flew overhead as I walked back up to my car. All in all a pleasant morning.

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