Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wheatear saves the day

Last Sunday, we went to Church Norton. Some good migrants have been turning up there in the last couple of weeks, including wheatear, whinchat, pied flycatcher and even a wryneck. Unfortunately it was very windy so any small birds that might have been around were all hiding - I only saw one chiffchaff. While watching a lot of swallows, I missed a sandwich tern that was flying right above my head (would have been a first for me!) - I saw a photo of it later that my partner took who was stood next to me. Oh well, a great start! Was this going to be another frustrating day? A trip to Seaford Head and Pulborough Brooks last Wednesday had been fruitless - I saw no migrants at all apart from two VERY distant wheatears.

On the beach, there were a few turnstones, curlews and oystercatchers - they were not willing to pose for a few photos. Great. And SO windy! Makes it VERY hard to handhold a heavy camera and lens!

When I was just about to give up, I scanned the beach for about 5 more minutes - and finally, there was some movement. A lone first-winter wheatear!

So the next few hours were spent trying to get closer to it without chasing it. It seemed to be getting used to me after a while, and I ended up just standing in the same place for a long time, after finding out which spots it preferred for feeding. And it eventually came to me, sheltering from the wind nearby, looking at me. The best shots I got when it was feeding behind the sea defences. I tried to duck & hide - it would only have seen my lens. It was SO cute - when it heard the clicking noise it came running (!) right up to me - it was only about 2 metres away from me - looking at me as if to say 'What ARE you doing there, silly - I do know you are there! Go on then, take a few shots.' :) Made my day!

Who are you?

For more photos of this wheatear and others, click here: Wheatear photos

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