Chat central

Priest Hill seems to be a favourite stopping off point for chats. This January/February saw up to 6 Stonechats spend a few weeks in the paddocks, and I suspect that different birds were involved over the period. During this current month, Northern Wheatears have stopped off with some regularity (with a peak of 8 on the 13th and 5 today), a female Redstart (honorary chat) was present on the morning of the 18th and a pair of Whinchats (including this stunning male) rounded it all off today. This family is one of my favourites, not just because of their beautiful colouring but also down to their habit of perching out in the open - on wire fences, hillocks, tops of bushes - making our encounters with them a thing of ease and one that seems to be mutually entered into. They're just - anthropomorphic warning - so inquisitive and friendly.

And talking of chats, the NDB Wheatear trophy is to be awarded tomorrow at midnight... one last chance for all you white-arse lovers out there to pop up a few more images.


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