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April 29th- redstart

A walk this morning in dull, grey conditions. Areas of bluebells and wild garlic in Gilling woods are coming to their very best now. The scent of both species filled the air at times. We had great views of a buck roe deer through the scope.

Despite the cold, birds were singing. We had superb views of a tree pipit singing at the top of a birch tree and occasionally watched it launch into its display flight. But the undoubted star of the show today, was a male redstart fresh in from Africa and back on its usual territory. I consider myself very lucky to be able to walk from the house and see this species. I first heard the bird’s melodic bursts of song. Redstarts often sing at the top of a tree and so it was this morning. A sadly demised ash tree was an ideal song post.  Behind it were the dark greens of the forest which contrasted beautifully with the bird’s plumage.

it was not quite in full breeding plumage and will continue to develop more black around its face, but what a bird! In the cold conditions, it was often puffed up like a Christmas robin! We were certainly ready for a hot drink and a warm up having spent half an hour taking it in turns to view the bird through the scope, but we returned home glowing from the sight we had seen.

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