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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Shingle Street Wheatear


Suffolk's Purple Patch continued with an appearance of the rare immature female Pied Wheatear on Shingle Street beach on Monday 19th October. Andrew E & I drove down to the site that afternoon and I was very impressed with the excellent habitat, an area I had never been to before (but I shall certainly visit again). Just south of the Martello tower, the immature female Pied Wheatear was seen perched on the fence just yards from it's admiring observers. It flew onto the beach and then flew down the central strip of the beach flying onto convenient perches such as bits of twig (just a foot of the ground) or Sea Kale.
It flew down to feed off insects on the beach even flying around in a figure of 8 to catch one particularly Houdini type insect! I decided to sit down carefully at one spot and my patience was eventually rewarded with views down to 18 feet at one point if even flew towards me and settled just 4 feet away, sadly totally obscured by Sea Kale.
I gave up taking pictures of the bird, when a certain well known bird photographer (the same one who had flushed the Ortolan back in September at Corton) started to walk up to the bird and push it further along the beach.
The bird showed it's characteristic long dagger shaped white outer tail feathers which were seen well when it fanned it's tail to balance in the brisk wind.

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