Just the quietest of clicks to my right alerted me as I was tallying up the morning Marshside survey at stupid o’clock today.
A male Wheatear had flown in to perch on one of the posts on the edge of the RSPB car park, about two metres from my open window, its feet making a clicking sound as it alighted on the perfect perch.
Giving up breathing for the next few seconds I shot a bit of video and took three pictures as quickly as I could before dumping that stuff and just admiring it in the hard light inbetween the showers.
The Wheatear pulsated in front of me, its feathers rising and falling ever so slightly.
You can watch my vid on YouTube here.
Then with a flick of the wings it was gone, bombing off behind the Sandplant.
One of the closest encounters I’ve had with a Wheatear (not counting ringing), what a bird!
Before the hail and sleet slammed in, the day was looking quite promising – a few flocks of Dunlin hurtled off the estuary and dropped onto Rimmers Marsh, all frantic and fast, while 21 Golden Plover followed the same trajectory.
Skylarks, Cetti’s, Willow, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff all singing.
A Great White Egret flapped north.
Male Little Ringed Plovers were zooming about, and I’m sure the “Stanley Pools” in the north east corner were on top form again.
I didn’t have time to check ’em, but sneaking a look at Wheatear Corner on the way back to the world produced a fine male Whinchat.
Shortly after I howdy-ed Stuart Darbyshire, who’d seen a female Whinchat down there too.