Monday, 29 April 2013

Migrating Wheatear.

During an unplanned visit to Witley Common last week I had faint hopes of catching up with a displaying Tree Pipit .......

.... but instead a female Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) provided a welcome distraction. I initially spotted her feeding on insects about a 100 yards away on open heathland with nowhere for me to gain any cover.

Fortunately the breeze was in my favour and she decided to take a rest on a nearby tree stump ... so the next question was how to get closer. I immediately laid down and adopted a very slow crawl towards the stump ... praying that she wouldn't fly away. 
This species of thrush winters in Africa and visits the UK between March and October to breed, usually on upland moorland terrain with grass fields and rock outcrops. Sighting in Surrey are therefore during their Spring and Autumn migration when they stop off to feed and rest during their very lengthy journeys.

Eventually she looked me straight in the eye before turning her back on me ... typical female!

Let's hope she finds her mate and successfully breeds before returning safely back to Africa in the Autumn.  FAB.



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