It was nice having a long distance traveller on the doorstep at Titchfield Haven recently. A sandy coloured, peachy-rumped Siberian stonechat in the company of some twenty common stonechats. I love this group of birds, visible - mainly, playing out their lives on the top of bushes, as opposed to skulking in the middle of them. The perfect artist's model. Having said that, it took several vists before I made any useful notes on it - bad light, too much wind(!), leaves on the line, catching up with old pals...... you know the sort of thing. She? (pale throat, no sign of dark ear-coverts) spent most it's stay zipping around, fly-catching in an area of cut meadow, avoiding it's slightly larger, bullyish cousins.
Wandering down on the last day of it's sojourn, we noticed a silhouette bobbing and tail-shivering on the top of a 'house' (mansion) neighbouring the reserve entrance. Surely a black redstart and so it was, making the most of insect snacks drawn out by the warmth of the day. Red admirals, migrant hawkers and common darters were not such a surprise to see on the wing, but a pair of brimstone butterflies flying in courtship outside our window as I write, is surely a little bit optimistic even in this weather.
A Forest fungi hunt beckons this weekend - might even put the correct name to one for a change.........naahh!
Recently I was delighted to be commissioned to make a small artistic contribution to the concept that became the new visitor centre at Lindisfarne. Told mainly through the words of the island people, the visitor is taken on an evocative introduction to life and wildlife of this incredible island. Brilliant design by www.cda.uk.com Wonderful words by www.telltale.co.uk supported by superb photos by Laurie Cambell, all make for a warm and welcoming encounter.
All photos Peter Phillipson.
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