Redstart, Pied fly and a few others make for a warm welcome back

After flying from Hong kong over the entire Palearctic yesterday I woke up early this morning and wanted to catch up with spring birding here in the UK. 3 weeks ago I left for China before even seeing a Blackcap so finding a male Common Redstart this morning on Walthamstow Marsh was more than I would have settled for.

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It stayed distant and I didn’t put too much effort into getting close as watching it flycatching from the fence was good enough. The Redstart flitted into view moments after I heard my first Willow Warbler of the year and a few minutes before seeing  my first Wheatear followed by all three Hirundines, so I’m nicely up to date now I think!

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After that excitement I met with DB and LB for a walk over the reservoirs, whilst boasting to Lol about my new(ish) and excellent bins I had brief views of a Short-eared Owl high over the central path, we all saw the bird a few minutes later in the same view as a Red kite that was similarly picked up high over the site and one or two Common Buzzards were the same story. I also realised I’d never taken a single photo of our returning Greater Scaup, who takes up residence on number 4 reservoir each winter and will surely be off soon, so heres a pic.

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A Male Pied Flycatcher had been found the day before by Sean Huggins at Mudchute Park in tower hamlets, its not often I twitch things but ive never seen a spring male in London and I also wont get time to do my usual trip back up North this year as ill be in Canada so thought why not? Im so glad i did as It was delightful, nice to bump into Martin Hallam, and later John Archer and Nick Tanner. After they left I had it to myself which is really what I was waiting for.  It appears to be a first summer male, showing brown first generation wing feathers and some brown greater coverts. The ultimate spring bird for me.

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