Just beginning to think it was another quiet day on the hill when I saw a bird flycatching along the top hedge that looked interesting. As usual the bird disappeared for a time but patience paid off when a juv Common Redstart appeared in the hedge around 60 metres away. Whilst watching the Redstart another bird popped up around a metre from it. A Whinchat (a juv, I think)!
The Whinchat flew over the hedge and disappeared along the fence line, not to be seen again but the Redstart stayed around for a while in the hedge before disappearing again. Both Tony and Alan arrived but alas did not see the birds………Yet.
Early records for both these species to be returning south. The previous early record for a returning Redstart was 13th July, an ad male in 2017 and Whinchat not until at least mid-August on the hill.
Or, post-breeding dispersal from birds that bred not too far away? But where?
A flock of c50 Swallow around Lollingdon, several Swift and a single House Martin, eventually moving off south.
6 Mistle Thrush nearby, 2 Little Owl and 6 Kestrel (3 hunting on the hill and another 3 near Little Lollingdon).
Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Southern Hawker and Emperor. Lots of Brown Hawker along the river towards the 4-Arches this morning. Per Alan Dawson.
Butterflies: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.
Apologies for the quality of the pics.