From North to South
The Northern Wheatear are currently making their long journey back southward towards Africa for the winter. Small groups of birds can be found temporarily pausing along the scrub and pasture areas behind the local coast, although finding them is more a question of luck in being there at the right time as some are passing through. I was fortunate to recently locate a group of 8 birds.
The autumn passage birds have a 'softer' look about them as the males have lost their bold markings of the spring and all the take on an appealing warm apricot colour. These returning wheatear also seem much more approachable than those found in the spring and were typically perching along the fence line of a paddock.
A few were also present on the large boulders of the local sea defences which is the closest similar habitat they will find around here to their rocky upland breeding grounds.
The birds were busy hopping down from the fence posts on the a gravel path to feed on insects to fuel their long journey.
However, the heat haze coming off the path on the warm early autumn day was playing havoc with focusing as usual. This bird was having a battle trying to subdue a large beetle in had found.
Wishing them all a safe onward journey and I look foward to their return with their spring colours in the middle of March.