As I approached to side near Salisbury Road I saw a bird fly down from the fence into the grass and then fly back up the the fence a bit further along. Try as I may I couldn't approach this beautiful Black Redstart very close before it move along the fence. After a while it vanished altogether and I wandered off down the hill.
On the way back I was suddenly aware of an incessant "pseep pseep" call and there he was, sitting on the back of the seat I'd been using a few minutes before. Although I didn't manage a full frame shot I did get a bit closer. The Bockhill boys had seen a Black Redstart at the weekend but from what I'm told it wasn't this cracking male.
Jack Chantler had previously told me of a Firecrest that had been around for a while and showed up along the steep footpath that runs up from Hotel Road to Granville Road. I hadn't been there long before I heard it and then briefly saw it flit from the hedge on over a garden fence. I heard it calling for a while but then lost it.
What did pay a visit was one of the several Chiffchaffs that I'd heard. The one above actually stopped just above my head and gave me a brief rendition of it monotonous song. The almost identical looking Willow Warbler won't be hear for a couple of weeks at least but when it does arrive it has the most evocative song of all the migrant warblers.
Soon after the high pitched call of a crest alerted me but it didn't have the harsh edge of the Firecrest's call and soon I had a couple of Goldcrest feeding within a few feet of me. I did hear the Firecrest again bur it seems to me that it spends far less time in the open and far more time buried in the tick foliage that the Goldcrests do.
During the 8 years we've been here almost every year the first Wheatear I've seen has been along Reach Road and several time on the large chalky pile just beyond the War Memorial. Each day in the last week I've had a look along there but today way the first to bring success. As I approached this male became alert and stood up tall, making it look very long legged.