9 Days Early


For me anyway. That’s the margin by which I beat my previous early record for Phoenicurus phoenicurus, set a couple of years ago in the Wyre Forest. This bird belongs to a genus of 11 species within the family that starts with our robin. Hint: starts is a clue to its English name.

I’ve only seen one other of the genus – P. ochruros, black redstart – so of course the marvellous male at Portbury Wharf this morning was a common redstart. It joined the year list moments after another migrant from the Muscicapidae family, also on its way in from Africa. A male wheatear had been hawking insects from the pylons bestriding the Park. This technically isn’t part of the reserve but I’m not splitting hairs.

The South Pools hide (I think that’s the name for the first one down Wharf Lane) disclosed another six wheatears. A final eighth bird popped up in what I’m going to call the ring ouzel field. It’s south of the kink in the path that runs between the two car parks. Horses often feed there so it’s a fine spot for passage passerines.

And indeed that’s where I’d picked up the redstart, just like last year. What’s next? My bet is whitethroat.

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