Wednesday, 30 June 2010


I visited Vestamager for a couple of hours early morning. The Spoonbill was asleep in the corner of Klydesøen, species number 250 for me in Denmark! Wader passage was evident with 22 Wood Sandpipers, 5 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 2 Ruff, 3 Dunlin and good numbers of Common Redshank. Perhaps the most notable sighting was an unseasonal Grey Wagtail that flew overhead and headed south-west out to sea.

On the way back I popped into the small wooden hide at Sydmøllevej, where I bumped into one of the rangers. He was about to give a live interview on Danish radio via his mobile phone about the importance of Vestamager as a nature reserve. He asked me if I had seen anything exciting and I mentioned the Spoonbill. He promptly mentioned it live on air. Interestingly, after the radio interview, I was talking to him about the viewing conditions at the site and how it would be fantastic to have more hides, ideally overlooking the western part of the lagoon. He told me that, after the current work to raise the flood barrier around the margins of the reserve, they were planning to install three wooden hides that would overlook that part of the reserve, with new pedestrian access granted along the dyke. This would be a brilliant development and would significantly improve the viewing of waders at this excellent site. Unfortunately it will happen after I have left Denmark but I look forward to hearing about more exciting sightings from Vestamager once the birders can see all parts of the area, including those hidden from current viewing positions.

This Little Ringed Plover is one half of a breeding pair, viewable from the Sydmøllevej hide.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Cup 2010

Birding has taken a bit of a back seat for the last week or so as the World Cup enters the business end of the competition. England's heavy loss to Germany on Sunday was painful (particularly as I watched it with some German friends!) but I really can't understand all the fuss in the British media about England's failure. Did they really expect England to win the World Cup? On the evidence so far in this competition we are way behind most of the last 16. We are technically poor and the 100mph game we are used to in the Premiership might be great to watch (and it is) but it just isn't suited to tournament football where possession is key. We are an above average international side that probably hovers around the top 10 in the world. Quarter-finals is about our level and, if we had won the group (which we should have done, being drawn with teams much lower ranked than us) then we would have played, and probably beaten, Ghana in the second round and then we'd have had a good chance of reaching the semis in a match against Uruguay. As it was, we scraped through the group and, through finishing second, played Germany, a team consistently ranked higher than England and we lost. Am I surprised? No. Disappointed? A little. Is it a disaster? No!

Now, back to checking waders....

Friday, 25 June 2010

Waders' return

After the over-excitement of the World Cup in the last few days (bye bye Italy and France), I decided to take a risk and skip the Portugal-Brazil game in favour of a couple of hours birding on Vestamager. For a change I thought I would go to the north tower and then Sydmøllevej in an attempt to score the Spoonbill that had been reported a couple of days previously (potential new species in Denmark for me). An Osprey circling with a fish being accompanied by a very vocal group of Oystercatchers was a good start. Then, on a flooded field by the entrance track to the tower, there were 5 Wood Sandpipers and a Greenshank. A reminder that, for some, the summer is already over and autumn migration has begun. No sign of the Spoonbill from the tower, so I nipped round to Sydmøllevej. Both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers were just outside the hide and a couple of Yellow Wagtails flitted around on the track. A Swallow nest in the hide itself had 5 young inside, not far off fledging. I returned via Klydesøen where there were good numbers of Swifts, House Martins and a couple of Swallows. And a juvenile Red-necked Grebe was enjoying a piggy-back from its mum on the lake. Gorgeous evening and pleased to hear when I got back that Brazil-Portugal was 0-0. Looking forward to Spain-Chile, though.. Could we really have a last 16 without Italy, France and Spain?? Makes England's win and two draws look quite good!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Unintended Consequences

We have all seen harrowing pictures of the wildlife directly affected the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico but this video, put together by the American Birding Association, shows some of the unnecessary disturbance caused by the clean-up operation. Anyone got a direct line to Obama?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Pacific Swift - finder's account

For those of you who can read Danish, the finder's account of the Pacific Swift can be seen here. Below is my (rough) translation.


As most will know, on Tuesday 15 June, Stig Kjaergaard Rasmussen found Denmark's first Pacific Swift. Those who know their Danish ornithological history will realise that it is not the first new species for Denmark that Stig has discovered. Back in 1976 Stig, together with Vagn Valentinussen and Knud Freisleben found Denmark's first White-throated Sparrow. It was found in the eastern part of Kongelunden forest and, with this new find, Stig has now found two new species for Denmark less than 2km apart. An achievement that should motivate all patch-birders to get out into the field.

Stig has sent the following account of the fantastic Pacific Swift find:

Tuesday 15 June I was, as so many times before, on a morning tour of the Klydesøen area on Vestamager. It was an overcast and cold summer day so, after 4 hours in the bird tower, I decided to pack it in and head for home. When I reached Hejresøen I looked at the birds there, and at the eastern end of the lake I began to count the House Martins that were foraging over the lake with Common Swifts.

Suddenly, just after 1100, it happened. One of the birds with a white rump was swift-sized with a forked tail - a large swift. I could discount White-rumped Swift on grounds of size and Little Swift on grounds of size and because of the tail shape. So which species was it? I could not remember whether there were - apart from Pacific Swift - other Asian swifts with this appearance.

I watched the bird for some minutes down to 20 metres distance, before losing it behind some trees. What should I do now? I was on the one hand very pleased about the observation, but also annoyed to stand alone with a rare bird - and without being able to prove the observation with photos. I rang Tim Andersen and told him about the sighting. Tim concluded it was a Pacific Swift and gave me the mobile number of Alex Buhring, who was nearby in the southern observation tower.

Ten minutes later Alex was there. We looked for the swift, and before long saw it at full speed foraging over the lake. I rang Tim again, who reported the bird on DOFCall (the Danish rare bird alert system).

After half an hour the first breathless birders arrived. Soon the first photographer arrived and took picture after picture. The bird performed very well. It behaved in the same way the whole time and foraged together with Common Swifts quickly over the lake, sometimes low over the water and sometimes higher or over the treetops on the lake's opposite side. Then it would disappear briefly behind the trees at the end of the lake before reappearing again. Once it flew over the dam off Hejresøen.

It repeated this all the time while more and more enthusiastic birders assembled. The chat was lively and the photographers let loose,

In the time I saw the bird, I noticed the following features: the Pacific Swift had a typical swift profile. It was the size of, or a touch larger than, a Common Swift with longer, relatively narrow and pointed wings. It looked slimmer, more lanky than Common Swift, maybe due to the longer and more pointed tail. The tail was more deeply forked than Common Swift which was especially obvious when the bird could be seen from above when foraging low over the water.

The upperparts looked completely black at first but later, with a little sun, rather more dark brown, except for a broad, rectangular white rump, with the white reaching down to the rump's sides.

The underparts were dark brown, lighter than the upperparts. A large grey-white, diffuse throat patch. The underside of the body was lightly scaled which could be seen in good light, when it was close by. The underside of the wings showed darker coverts than primaries.

After 3 and a half hours, the party ended at 1430, just as abruptly as it had began. Strong thunderstorms approached and the Pacific Swift, with the Common Swifts, headed south.

For me it was an extraordinary birding experience. I could be very satisfied with the bird, and the fact that over 100 birders got to see it. It was just a pity that more birders - including those from further afield - didn't arrive in time.


Saturday, 19 June 2010

More Pacific Swift

I am still going through the (300) photos of the Hejresøen Pacific Swift. Here are a few more... It is remarkable how the tail, when partially spread, was reminiscent of a pratincole sp (see, in particular, the third photo below).

Friday, 18 June 2010

Blyth's Reed Warbler

For around a week or so there has been a Blyth's Reed Warbler holding territory about an hour outside Copenhagen at Vindbyholt. Having only ever seen one autumn 1st winter bird in the UK, I was keen to go and see it. These birds are mainly night songsters, so to have the best chance, I had to arrange a crack logistically challenging mission under cover of the limited darkness at this time of year. I ended up catching the S-train from Copenhagen to Køge and then the last local train to Faxe Ladeplads (with my bike) on Thursday evening and cycling from there. This meant I arrived in Faxe Ladeplads at 00:30, giving me about 2.5/3 hours of darkness. The first train back in the morning was at 05:00 so I knew I would have several hours to spend in the vicinity. Luckily there was also a Savi's Warbler, another night-time songster, reported very close to Faxe Ladeplads station so I started by cycling to that site. Sure enough, I could hear it immediately on arrival and it sang constantly for the 10 minutes I was there, alongside Thrush Nightingale, Marsh Warbler and a chorus of frogs. Good start. From there I cycled the 8km or so to Vindbyholt. It was a beautiful night - clear, still and warm - and I could hear more Thrush Nightingales, several Tawny Owls and a Long-eared Owl along the way. On arrival at the Blyth's site at 01:45 I could hear the bird immediately, singing from some thickish vegetation alongside a small brook. It was only a short walk along the edge of the brook to get closer and it was from here that I stood and listened as it sang, without interruption, until 03:05. Apart from the gentle sound of the running water, it was a completely silent night with no traffic noise and no other birds singing in the vicinity. It was like being in the company of a world-class musician playing a solo just for me..! The song reminded me of a slow and more relaxed Marsh Warbler - lots of mimicry with each phrase repeated up to 10 times but the phrases were not as 'hurried' as in Marsh and with longer gaps in between each burst. I started to note the different species that were being plagiarised - in that time I identified Great Tit, Willow Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackbird, Swift, Thrush Nightingale, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Starling, Whitethroat and White Wagtail and I am sure there were more.

I recorded a sample of its song which you can hear below (recorded at 02:00am).

As it got light (it never really got fully dark!), I managed to see the bird - a dullish acro sp with a long, thinish bill, obvious supercilium and noticeably short primary projection relative to Marsh and Reed. It was really cool to see a singing Spring male instead of the skulky autumn juveniles we get in the UK.

Both Savi's and Blyth's Reed were new species for Denmark for me, so that takes my total, including the Pacific Swift, to 249. One more to the magic 250!

Blyth's Reed Warbler, 18 June 2010 from Terry Townshend on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

STOP PRESS - Pacific Swift

It is often said that the rarest birds turn up in June and July.. and today that saying came true with a first for Denmark in the form of a Pacific Swift found by Stig Kjaergaard Rasmussen (SKR) sometime around 11am at Hejresøen, Vestamager, just outside Copenhagen. I heard the news at about 1245 and was on site by 1330. Fortunately for me, the bird was still present with around 60-70 Common Swifts hawking over the lake. It favoured the north-east corner of Hejresøen and flew mostly at treetop height with occasional forays to the western end of the lake. It was about the size of Common Swift but was longer-winged and had an obviously longer and more deeply forked tail. Overall it was slightly lighter in colour than the Common Swifts with which it was associating with prominent scaling on the underparts. The white on the rump was very obvious and reached round onto the sides of the rump, making it visible when the bird was side-on. I watched it for about an hour until, at around 1430, a thunderstorm approached from the north and the swift flock rose high and drifted off south-east towards Sydvestpynten (in the direction of Falsterbo in Sweden). I lost it from view at around 1435 when the rain started. I left site about 10 minutes later having congratulated Stig on his amazing find - a well-deserved reward for the hours he puts in around Vestamager, counting each species he encounters. I got a heavy soaking on my bike on the journey home but it was a small price to pay. Wouldn't it be ironic if the last new species I see in Denmark is one that would normally be seen in China!

Sunday, 13 June 2010


After the recent news about moving to China I was resolved to try to make the most of my time here in Denmark. Top of the list was a visit to the Swedish island of Öland, a long thin stretch of land off the east coast of southern Sweden. It is known as a great birding destination, particularly during migration but it also has some summer breeders that are very scarce or absent further west. My target species was Barred Warbler. Having been based in the UK for so long I have seen a few autumn juveniles but I had never seen a Spring singing male. After a short conversation with Phil, we decided to spend two nights at Ottenby at the southern tip of the island to see what we could turn up.

After a very early start (0345) from Copenhagen I caught the train to Lund, from where Phil picked me up for the drive across Skåne. Our first stop was at a military firing range on the east coast of Skåne called Ravlunda. Live firing was taking place that day at 1300 so we had to be well out of the way by 12ish.. We arrived at 0800 and began brilliantly with a singing male Firecrest along the access road, soon followed by singing Woodlark, Golden Oriole, good numbers of Red-backed Shrike, a stunning male Montagu's Harrier, Osprey, singing Wryneck, Icterine Warbler, Thrush Nightingale... what a great site! A wander around finally produced a pair of Tawny Pipits, one of our target birds, as well as a few Black-throated Divers offshore. There was an outside chance of Barred Warbler here so, while Phil checked the main area for Tawny Pipits I nipped over to investigate a sylvia warbler that was singing from some scrub along the edge. I probably spent about five minutes here and these were the only five minutes that Phil and I were out of sight and not within audible range. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for Phil) he heard and then saw a flyover Bee-eater! He immediately tried to get my attention through a combination of whistles, shouts and even calling my mobile phone (on silent!) but in vain. As I returned Phil was gesticulating wildly but I was just too late - the Bee-eater had flown out of sight. You win some, you lose some.
As the military began to set up their dummies and sights we took our cue and left, taking in a calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the way - a thoroughly enjoyable few hours at a fantastic site. After a short rain-interrupted (and unsuccessful) attempt to see Serin, we drove on to Öland, jamming in on a White Stork along the way and picking up a few Red Kites.

Öland is a lovely island, around 137km long from north to south and a maximum of 16km wide and dominated in the southern part by the unusual limestone-based habitat called 'Alvaret'. We drove south along the west coast to Ottenby and checked in at the youth hostel (ideally located for birders). By now the rain had stopped but the mist had descended. Not ideal conditions but we did manage to pick up some waders on the drive down to the point (Redshank with young, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Turnstone) plus a couple of 2k Little Gulls before calling it a day and heading back for dinner.

Saturday was a very different day weather-wise. No rain but instead a very strong south-westerly wind (averaging 15m/s with gusts up to 20-25m/s). Birding in this was a challenge. It was really energy-sapping and we were both pretty frazzled at the end of the day. We began in the relative calm of the wood at Norra Lunden where we soon connected with Collared Flycatcher (a pair in a nest box), heard a snatch of Red-breasted Flycatcher (heard only) and the first of many Rosefinches (nearly everywhere we stopped we heard one). A search for Barred Warbler in the almost gale-force winds was not looking promising until we heard a strong rattle from a bush which, on investigation, revealed a female-type Barred which unfortunately disappeared immediately. We drove up the east coast, stopping at Seby for waders (a one-legged Curlew Sandpiper the most notable bird here) and Hulterstad (4 Black Terns) before cutting across the west coast via Möckelmossen (a nice site but difficult to stay upright in the wind) on our way to Beijershamn. Here I had a strategic power nap while Phil braved the coastal walk, picking up Spotted Redshank, Wigeon and a few other bits and bobs.

From here we drove south again picking up Crane and Red Kite before looking for the reported Kentish Plovers at Ottenby. No sign of the plovers but we did meet a young Swedish couple who told us that they might have seen the Steppe Eagle that has been present on the island since the autumn. We headed back up that way more in hope rather than expectation but we were glad we did. We didn't see the eagle but we did connect with a nice male Goshawk before jamming in on a singing male Barred Warbler right next to the road. Phil skilfully maneouvred the car right alongside, allowing me to grab a few close-up snaps of this much wanted bird. It song-flighted a couple of times before crossing the road and diving into shelter (the wind was still very strong). There was a Red-backed Shrike in the same bush - just as it says in the books, these two species seem to be best buddies - wherever we saw Barred there was a Red-backed Shrike very close by.

The drive back to Ottenby produced a male Montagu's Harrier carrying food plus another Rosefinch by the side of the road. A nice finish to a challenging but productive day.

Sunday again started early at Ottenby, this time with Phil going for the Kentish Plovers (again unsuccessfully) and me poking around Sodra Lunden. With less strong (but still moderate) winds, I lucked in on 4 Barred Warblers, 2 Golden Orioles (including one adult male), Collared Flycatcher and several Red-backed Shrikes. The slightly less harsh conditions clearly lending themselves to improved birding activity. From here we drove north towards the bridge to Beijershamn where we connected with a good flock (30+) of Spotted Redshanks and a few Dunlin. It was here that Mrs B told us about a singing River Warbler just over the bridge in Kalmar. As it was on the way back we stopped off and saw and heard the River Warbler at pretty close range... a great bird. A lovely 'red' male Rosefinch was a bonus. The long drive back to Båstad ended with a failed attempt to connect with a singing 2k male Red-breasted Flycatcher close to the railway station but it didn't take the edge off what was a top trip. Thanks to Phil for doing all the driving - I don't know how he did it! I flopped onto the train and was back in Copenhagen by 6pm to enjoy dinner with my long-suffering wife!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

China calling

And so, after just over 3 years in Denmark, the inevitable news that every diplomatic couple receives, has arrived - that of our next posting. Last week Libby and I heard that we will be leaving Denmark and moving to Beijing at the end of August. It's a 11-month posting, after which we will almost certainly return to the UK.

I have to say that I have mixed feelings. Living in China for a year is, I know, going to be an amazing experience - it is probably now the second largest economy in the world (almost certainly overtaking Japan in 2009) and, if it continues its amazing growth, it will overtake the US as the number one in the next 20-30 years or so. The challenges associated with this growth, particularly for the environment, are of a scale that is almost incomprehensible to me, coming from a small island in the Atlantic of only 60 million people! China has an incredible 1.3 billion people (22 million in Beijing alone), many of whom aspire to the western lifestyle - a car, flatscreen TV, i-phone etc. Of course they have an absolute right to develop so the priority must be to find a way to help them to do it sustainably whilst at the same time reducing the impact our lifestyles in the west have on the planet to make room. I hope I can contribute in some small way while I am there.

It will be a completely different experience to living in Copenhagen. The cultural experience will be hugely rich - the people, their habits, the food, the city life will all be a change from the comfortable western European existence we have been treated to here. And the birds?! Oh, the birds will be very different.. probably not much on my doorstep except a few House Sparrows and maybe some Azure Magpies but with Beidaihe and Happy Island only around 3 hours away by train, I will be in for a treat at migration time. And I will hopefully be able to travel around a bit and get to grips with many of the 'sibes' that cause so much excitement when they turn up in western Europe - Pallas's Warblers, Yellow-broweds, Siberian Thrush, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Rubythroat, Radde's Warbler, Amur Falcon etc etc...

However, as much as I am looking forward to the new adventure, I am also very sad to be leaving Denmark. We have both thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Copenhagen is a lovely city and the quality of life here is very high - public transport that works, amazing cycling infrastructure, quality food and, best of all, the people. We have found the Danes to be very friendly, helpful, modest, relaxed, well-educated and with a very similar sense of humour to us Brits. We have made some very good friends here (Kat, Michael, Kamilla, Mike, Barbara etc) with whom, I am sure, we will stay in touch for many years to come. The Scandinavian social model of relatively high taxes and a great welfare state lends itself to a happier and much more equal society than we are used to in the UK. My experience of doctors and dentists in Copenhagen is way beyond that of the UK and it appears that education is much less determined by your postcode. I know there are pressures and tensions here with some questioning the sustainability of this model, especially linked to immigration and to 'brain-drain' but, for me, it would be incredibly sad to see this model eroded - it is as close to utopia as I have seen!

On the birding front I have had a great time. I have so far seen 246 species in Denmark (will I reach 250 before I leave??), the vast majority of which have been seen locally using public transport or, most frequently, by bicycle. My favourite sites around Sydvestpynten, Kongelunden and Vestamager are fantastically varied habitats that Copenhageners are very lucky to have on their doorstep. And I have been able to get to grips with many species that are very scarce or rare in the UK - Marsh Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Rosefinch, Rough-legged Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Wood Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Black Kite to name a few. The birders here are very competent (dare I say, better than the UK on average?) and I have very much enjoyed meeting and talking to many in the Danish birding community - special mention must go to Henrik Højholm who has shown me some of the best sites (and birds), including Skagen, and there are many others - Stefan Sturup, Steffen Nielsen, Klaus Nellevang, Ole Nyegaard, Jan Speierman, Andreas Petersen, Thomas Hellesen, Andreas Hagerman, Morten Christensen, Sanne Busk, Jimmy 'Skat' Hansen, Morten Kofoed-Hansen, Stig Kjaergaard Rasmussen, Tim Andersen, Ib Jensen, Rolf Christensen, Klaus Malling Olsen, Frank Desting to name a few (not forgetting the other 'Brits' here - Mark Walker, Brian Edwards and David Collinge plus Phil Benstead over the bridge in Sweden). A big thank you to all of you for being so generous with your time, knowledge and using your excellent english to help me improve my Danish birding experience! If any of you are in Beijing in the next 12 months (or the UK after that), look me up!

Of course, this blog will continue until I leave and I hope to be able to blog in some form or another from Beijing.

This feels a little like a premature leaving blog post but hopefully I will be able to say some goodbyes in person before the end of August. In the meantime, happy birding!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

'Fuscus-type' LBBG

I started early today, reaching Vestamager at around 0445. Along Kanalvej there were the usual gulls feeding in the meadows but one stood out - a very dark Lesser Black-backed Gull with tiny white spots for mirrors on the primaries and overall a sleeker looking bird compared with the 'normal' LBBG with which it was associating. Unfortunately it flew as I was reaching for my camera which meant that I was only able to get a very poor record flight shot of it moving away. The 'fuscus' subspecies (known as "Baltic Gull") is notoriously difficult to identify for certain due to the variability of 'intermedius', so it will have to go down as a 'fuscus-type'.

The other highlight included 5 Razorbills past Sydvestpynten, not something I expect in June. I had a good walk around Kongelunden on the off-chance that there might be a Greenish Warbler but to no avail. However the walk did produce at least 11 singing Wood Warblers, a good number.

Photo: 'fuscus-type' Lesser Black-backed Gull and Wood Warbler

Friday, 4 June 2010

Red-necked Grebes

A video of one of the pairs of Red-necked Grebes on Hejresøen, Vestamager. Mainly for UK readers who don't see RNGs very often (!)

Red-necked Grebes from Terry Townshend on Vimeo.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


Swifts are amazing birds. It is said that, once leaving the nest, young swifts may not land for up to 3 years. They eat, sleep, drink, mate and collect nest material on the wing. A friend of mine once told me of his conversation about swifts with eminent Australian scientist, Professor Tim Flannery. Tim had told him that swifts were in the vanguard of species' journey to dominate the air. So far species had conquered land and the sea but none had yet conquered the air. Swifts were the closest to claiming that prize but even they depended on land to breed. Maybe one day swifts will give birth to live young on the wing...? Who knows. In any case, they are always a pleasure to watch and, this morning, I witnessed a small arrival of these birds at Klydesøen. After coming in off the sea they spent at least 30 minutes feeding over the water, often at very low altitude, allowing fantastic views. As always, I had my camera with me and, among lots of shots of sky and blurred dark marks, I managed to capture several pleasing photos - all thanks to the amazing focusing of the Canon EOS 1D. As always, click to big them up!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

An Evening With Mark Walker

This evening I joined fellow Englishman, Mark Walker, on a tour of Sjaelland primarily to see Nightjar at Melby but taking in a few sights along the way. First stop was Porsemosen where we had a modest start involving several Thrush Nightingales and Marsh Warblers as well as more common fare. Then up to Gundsølille to see one of the last (THE last?) remaining pairs of breeding White Stork in Sjaelland. These birds originate from the Swedish re-introduction scheme, so not sure if I am allowed to count them on my Danish list but I'll endeavour to find out... In the meantime they are innocent until proven guilty (species number 245). It was pleasing to see 3 young poking up their heads from the nest - hopefully they will all fledge to become true grown up Danish storks. Next stop was Melby Overdrev for Stonechat and Nightjar. We walked around for about an hour (in the rain, not forecast by the Danish Meteorological Institute I hasten to add, which I am sure won't surprise many Danes) and, after seeing at least 3 Red-backed Shrikes (1 male and 2 females), in almost the last group of bushes we checked we found a pair of Stonechat (species number 246) with at least 2 young. Fantastic. The male popped up onto a clump of heather and basked in the evening sunlight (even though it was still raining) - a stunning bird. I felt a little guilty at being underwhelmed by Stonechats recently having been born and bred at Winterton in Norfolk where at least 2 pairs have bred annually since the year dot. So I was determined to appreciate this pair very much. And I did.

Finally, we made our way back to the car park where we heard at least one, possibly two, male Nightjars 'churring' in the rain. A brief sighting of one displaying was sufficient for us to call it a day (still raining) and make our way home. A very pleasant evening - thanks Mark!