Friday 29 April 2016

Double take 29th April 2016

A text from Steve arrived just before 9am informing me of a female Common Redstart not five minutes drive from my home.

It was in a hawthorn hedge running alongside a public footpath at a place called Sarsden and being so close to my home in Kingham it was no hardship to make the short drive up there to try and see it.

The morning was bright with sun and a very strong northwesterly wind was whipping over the exposed fields. There is little to hamper the wind up here as we are at quite an elevation in this part of the Cotswolds. I followed Steve's instructions and soon located the redstart in the hedge which gave itself away by dropping down at frequent intervals from the hedge to the short grass to seize its prey and then flying back up to the hedge to resume its vigil.

A female Common Redstart is dull in comparison to the male but like the male is enlivened by an orange chestnut tail which when spread in flight can be seen in all its eye catching glory. I followed the redstart as it flitted from perch to perch along the hedge and then noticed that beyond it another brown bird was also flying down to the grass and then back up to the hedge. I assumed it was a Robin but thought it best to check anyway. The original redstart was still sat on its perch in the hedge so when the second brown bird dropped down from the hedge no one was more surprised than me to see a flash of orange chestnut tail as it flew down onto the grass. I waited for it to make one more sortie from hedge to ground and when it did there was no denying the fact that here was another female Common Redstart. Two in one hedge and only five minutes from my home. Fantastic. 

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