Sunday, 10 November 2013

Collingham Pits - Pied Wheatear

To say I was on 'red alert' today would be an understatement but still feeling a little delicate and not fancying a 220 mile round trip, I opted to wait for news of the Collingham Pied Wheatear before heading off! Even then, I really wanted to see 'showing well' so ignored the initial 'viewable from the gate'.....

Lifers are not to be taken lightly and with no more news coming out, by 9.45 I decided to give it a go whatever!  A pretty anxious drive too, with an apparent news blackout. Reevsy was on site though and I was 10 minutes away, when I got the news I was hoping for..... 'showing really well' - I  pressed down on the accelerator ever so slightly :-)

One of the advantages of not being first on the scene, I managed to get a parking spot in prime position - right outside the gate!! Here's the lie of the land......

It was still in view after 'showing well on arrival but about 100m distant, on the shingle ridge just in front of the water! Tell you what - I'd have settled for this record shot at the time :-)

It then started flying about, ending up on the right hand shingle ridge - a little closer!

Even at distance the overall darkness of the upper parts was striking! But then it started to make its way along the nearby ridge - yes that's the one in the first image, right below the gallery!! With lots of vegetation to cause irritation, I stood my ground and just waited for it to find an uncluttered position.....

It was using the vegetation as look out perches.

A suitable launch pad - you can see the black of the tail reaching up the sides

How cute is that - right below me!

Then it flew (sadly side lit) a short distance away and picked a tasty not so little grub!

This was to be the one and only close encounter... to savour and check out the key plumage features, it all pointed to a female. The brown 'earthy' coloured mantle and scaly pattern really standing out! I had to pinch myself - it was such amazing light.

Two images in particular, to remember a spectacular moment!

Days like this don't come all that often and after the Dusky Warbler and Scilly skulkers, it's nice to have a showy bird once more.......