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Target Acquired

I don’t usually set off with the aim of targeting a particular bird or animal, I usually decide on a location and see what turns up. So it might be river, wood, moors or a reserve and off I go. However while watching the short eared owl I did spy a new bird for me flying past and so I decided I would set off with the sole intent of photographing a Wheatear.

Wheatears overwinter in Sub Saharan Africa and at this time of year are just returning from an epic journey. They are small ground dwelling birds and are very much an upland bird enjoying the windswept moors above where I live.

After spending an unsuccessful half hour in the vicinity where I’d seen one a few days earlier I decided to move on and about a mile down the road was rewarded with one perching perfectly on a rock.

They are a very smart bird with the male having a steel blue head and back and a pale orange chest and a very distinct white eye stripe. I'm not 100% sure if this is a male or female!

They are slightly larger than a robin and tend to hop or run along the ground looking for insects. There were a couple of birds about which I thought were males but now it seems may have been females! I will need to return and get some more pictures!

The name Wheatear is derived from the Old English for ‘white’ (wheat) and ‘arse’ (ear), referring to their white rump of course, displayed to perfection in this shot!

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