Two bites of the cherry

It was grey and still so I took a quick look around the dunes south of Shore Road at Ainsdale before work this morning.
Whitethroats were displaying in the gloom and two Groppers were reeling while three Greenland Wheatears put a zing into the day, with a light but steady movement of Swallows and Sand Martins through.

A gorgeous Whinchat watched me from the top of a hawthorn.

Territorial Stonechat and Mipits jostled for perches with the inordinately large number of Linnets that are on site this spring.
I knew I had an email in-box full of fun waiting for me back in the tower so I retraced my steps and logged in at about 0845 when a movement caught my eye below the window – a female Redstart was flycatching from the nearby stunted poplar.
Great stuff – I’ve always hoped of finding one in this bush, which over the years has yielded Cuckoo, Whinchat and Hobby for me.

Sadly the Redstart didn’t hang around for long, but I managed a poor “through the window” picture showing an odd pale patch on her crown before she zipped away.
Not bad for twenty minutes or so, so I took another stroll at lunchtime, from 1245 to 1345 by which time the day was heating up and the clouds melted away.
It was quieter, but Tree Pipit headed north over the sheep enclosure, and Gropper, Whitethroat, Willow and Sedge Warbler were still singing.
A Yellow Wagtail “sweeted” south west and the hirundines kept on coming – I even managed my first House Martin of the year, embarrassingly late.
A flurry of eight Greenland Wheatears appeared around the office and a male Whinchat popped up – I guess it could have been the same bird from earlier on.
Even better a female Redstart put in a fleeting appearance, beady eyeing me up from the deep shade of the poplar bush again.

A pale spot on the crown again was just visible – so she had hung around since the grey of the morning after all.
A fine end to a week which has been good for Sand Lizards thanks to the unseasonal combination of sun and cold cold air until today.
Warm enough for them to bask, but too cool for them to get overly active till later in the day.
I blagged this beast of a male a few days ago on the coast – a real treat.