Well it was sunday morning and my good lady was prepping the sunday dinner, it was not raining so what should I do? Yes you guessed off to local patch Marston to see if I could see the Stonechats good old Dave R told me about while in Cyprus last week , thanks again Dave and apologies for the text probably costing you £3 :)
Got to the patch and enjoyed being back as it had been a few weeks since I had called in. Walking down Viking Way making my way to the 'Stonechat spot' I enjoyed the clicking and calling Robins and Wrens but not the dam flies that were still in this area.
The track is absolutely sodden where Viking Way meets the track going across the site to Mill Lane.
I got my tripod and camera set up here, scanned the reed beds and waited for a Stonechat sighting I saw various sized Starling murmurations with about 100 birds being the biggest.
A nosey Dunnock came lose to check me out and then disappeared into the thick vegitation.
Then the Stonechat action began with a distant sighting of a female bird, she posed nice and typically high on the reeds even in the gusty high wind, shame it was a little way off.
This bird flitted around sometimes calling in close then flying up to try to get flies etc. I tried to get an ariel photo but the light was rather gloomy and more importantly I was not fast enough! Below is the best photo I managed.
I had the male in my sights at last, this time it was about 12 feet away, great you may say but it was in the tree I was standing next to and I could not get a clear shot of it due to the branches, bugger!
Then overhead a group of about 10 birds came into view now at first I thought 'Fieldfare' judging by their size and flight pattern but nope I was incorrect (again!) they turned out to be Mistle Thrushes, I got a pic of sorts of the last bird in the group to ID them.
Soon after this I heard the unmistakable sound of Curlew's more than one too! I counted 18 that flew from the Marston village direction towards the works end of the site.
Then the female Stonechat came a little closer and I managed some pleasing photo's possibly my best ones yet of the female of this delightful species.
I kept looking for the male but he was not showing as well and often as the female but then a long way off I saw him flying also catching flying insects and I caught him landing on a reed with a beetle? in his beak that was soon devoured.
The male stayed on this single reed for about 10 minutes then flew off and down into the reed bed swiftly appearing again with more food.
The pair of birds did not show again for about 10 minutes and so off I went back to my car, along the way two Mute Swans flew in to eventually land near the horse paddock.
I hope the Stonechats stay a while wonderful birds these eh?