Wednesday, 20 April 2016

What's better than a Wheatear?



....a FLOCK of Wheatears






Yesterday, a sunny day and a morning off BMT monitoring. I headed for the hills. After a single Wheatear at Pitstone Hill and assurances that the beacon was “dead, no sign of migrants”, I was happy just to saunter in the sunshine. As it turned out, the SE slope of Ivinghoe Beacon was very much alive, with at least 6 Wheatears. Unfortunately, the moment I spotted them, a screeching child ran along the footpath not far from the flock, and they all took flight. I relocated 5 but there could well have been a few more around. I plonked myself down on the grass and just watched the little group.


One pair took it in turns to have a dust bath. Another male was actively watching insects in the air, following them with his gaze and then jumping up to catch them. He was great entertainment, with the flash of his white rump and the bouncy way he launched himself up and then down again.

The slog back up to the car park was a lot less painful knowing it hadn’t been in vain!

9 comments:

  1. Whoa Lucy! You've suddenly catapulted into the lead of the ND&B Wheatear challenge!

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    1. Hurrah! That makes tramping up those hills even more worthwhile! The question is, can I maintain the lead with 10 days still to go….!?!

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  2. What a sight. Brilliant Lucy.

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    1. Thanks Marc. I was just looking back at last Spring, when 23 Wheatears stopped off on/around the Ivinghoe Beacon. I think they were fairly spread out. Seeing this tight little flock of 5 birds, all interacting, was really lovely.

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  3. They are lovely birds. The only time I have ever seen them was when they were up on the Derbyshire peaks when I was a small child.

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    1. I know I'm fortunate to have Ivinghoe Beacon just up the road. One of these days, Si, you'll find one when you least expect it.

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  4. Excellent Lucy! 4 of them, great work!

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  5. Just read the text - 6!! Better still! Never seen that many in one place!

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  6. Guys, I found your sight because I googled flock of wheatear. I live in the hills of Connemara where I am used to seeing wheatears over the summer months. But for the last 2 days around my isolated home in the hills I was blessed with seeing well over 100 in one flock. They were flying from the evergreens down to the mountain ash and back again. Never seen that before. It felt like they were gathering to migrate and im sure, with the help of binoculars, that they were eating the red berries of the mountain ash. Felt very privileged.

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