Aylmerton Nature Diary

Black Redstart bonanza!

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Male Black Redstart, Aylmerton 13th March

I was all set this morning to rotavate the onion bed at the allotment when I became distracted by a bird which I noticed fly from the neighbours log pile, down on to the grass, then up on to my fence. A quick look through my ‘allotment binoculars’ and I could see what I thought was a dull brown bird with russet sides to it’s tail – surely a female Black Redstart! I immediately called home to ask Jane to bring my camera, whilst I kept the bird under observation. As I was making the call the bird flew to the hedge at the top of the allotments. A few nerve-racking minutes later I saw it again in the adjacent horse paddock – well I thought I did! As I lifted my binoculars I could immediately see that it was a splendid male. It was only when I’d relocated the first, female bird, that I realised that I had not just one bird but a pair of Black Redstart! Having called a couple of local birders to alert them, I watched the birds move gradually towards the top corner of the horse paddock – just about viewable from the road past Running Free Farm. Several of the local arrived and we watched the birds gradually move further east and out of view. My gut feeling being that they’d end up in Felbrigg Hall, where there have been a number of records over previous years. Eventually I got back to the gardening and was just walking back home for lunch when I saw the male sat on a house roof at the bottom of The Street. I watched it fly over the allotment and land in the horse paddock again. I updated the bird info. services accordingly.

I’ve missed a few local Black Redstarts since we’ve been living here so I was delighted to find not just one but two on my ‘home patch’. A couple of grab shots of these fabulous birds:

First, the female, found originally on my allotment

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Then surprise surprise, a male!

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Finally, the two together on the horse paddock – though distant

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