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!
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