I have been trying, off and on, for a few weeks to see Black Redstarts here in Devon this winter. There has been reports regularly from Beer, one of my favourite places. This morning, in bright sunshine, off we went in the hope of success....... I almost deserved it or so I thought! As soon as I got there I saw "Bun", a local chap who works for the council. I went for a chat and he told me that he had seen them on the beach just a few minutes ago. Looking down in that direction we both saw them so I knew that today was going to be OK. There were three, all females unfortunately but with a bit of chasing around I managed a few photos before I thought they had had enough of me. They were either on the Beach huts or boats at first but a little more wary than last year.
This one was at first on the beach tide line with Rock pipits but then flew up on to the side of the chalk cliff. I am pretty sure it was keeping it's distance from me and after a short while I decided that it was best left alone to carry on feeding.
On the way home I stopped off in Sidmouth to see if there was any sign of Friday's Purple Sandpiper but no, the tide was wrong as I had guessed. It is quite usual with birds that are in 'marine" habitats, to have the correct combination of tides and sunshine. So back home by early afternoon, I still had time to visit Topsham for the chance of better Spotted Sandpiper photos. The bird was there but I had the devil of a job to improve on earlier photos with the sun almost smack in to the lens at this time of day. However the bird was very accommodating and gave me, and others the opportunity to deal with the ambient conditions. I failed miserably I have to say. This bird is now a bit of a celebrity and it is going to be very hard to see it when it is quiet. It is really unfair to try and get close to this bird when other people are just as keen to see it as I am. You always run the risk of driving it to a safe distance and depriving other people the opportunity for a relatively close view. I have to say though that other peoples ethics are not as sound as mine and it was particularly galling to be shown good photos by other people who didn't share my sense of fair play......... lets put it that way!