Record shot of Redstart (c) 2009 David Ware
Today's morning trip was a catch-up session from a fortnight ago when we were rained off. David Ware, a new recruit, alerted me to the presence of a singing Redstart, and a mystery bird. I arrived early to check on the exact locality of the singing birds, and sure enough they were both in place. Actually, there were 2 male Redstarts holding territory in an area of the county where they are not officially recorded as breeding. This is a different site to the other nearly 20 miles away, where 2 birds were seen feeding chicks in 2007, and where a pair were seen holding territory last spring. It's great that this most brilliantly-coloured passerine is keeping a toehold in our area. Unfortunately, the actual bird today proved very elusive, and we only obtained fleeting views, but it continued to sing all morning. The mystery bird turned out to be a displaying Tree Pipit. This was more confiding and allowed us to get good views as it sang from a variety of hawthorn bushes & it performed its parachuting leg-dangling display flight. To see pictures of that I would recommend Graham Catley's pics of it performing in Lincolnshire: http://pewit.blogspot.com/2009/05/displaying-tree-pipits-2.html
The Redstart & Tree Pipit are often referred to a birds of Western Britain, and birds which are in steep decline throughout the UK, so it is very gratifying that they are still attempting to breed in East Yorkshire, although their breeding numbers are almost certainly precariously low. Also present: Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Red Kite, Kestrel, Skylark and Red-legged Partridge.