Wheatear, Portbury Wharf


What a colourful bird the male is. That drew my attention as it flew to the crown of a tree – not its usual habitat. I had mere seconds to get a binocular view before he was off. He was top of the bill after an opening act of about fifty sand martins fluttering over the pools on the Wharf.

Like the robin, the wheatear is no longer a thrush but a flycatcher. Ignoring the rock thrushes, it is the closest of our little British breakaway group to spotted flycatcher. The group’s order runs: robins; nightingale; redstarts; chats; and wheatears. Then after the flycatchers come dippers – sort of underwater insect catchers. It all makes sense, y’know.

So, spring is progressing around here. Yellow wagtails are supposed to be next up – ha-ha! Last year’s individual at Saltholme was my only sighting this century. It’s a semi bogey-bird. You must surely have one of these?

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