No matter at what time I set my alarm clock the internal one always seems to go off about 15 minutes before hand. So it was bleary eyes that I pulled myself out of bed at 4:45am to head off in search of yellow wagtails. The reason for the very early start is that I wanted to be on site for first light as the photo situation means the light quickly swings round and makes for some difficult lighting.
An hour later and I was in position but had already had an encounter en route with a Whinchat despite the light at that stage being a bit limited. They really are such attractive little birds but this one proved typically tricky to get close to.
Th yellow wagtails at this site are a game of patience. They inhabit a large agricultural field and the only chance of photographs is when they land on the field fence line or an adjacent track. I could hear the birds calling and see the occasion one flitting up in to the air out of the crop to catch a passing fly. So the wait began. Eventually a male bird flew across and landed on a fence post. The first encounter with a male yellow wagtail each year is always a moment of pause just to admire their vivid yellow.
The bird disappeared back to its field and I was forced to wait once more. However, it was an enjoyable wait in the still early morning as the sun rose and with a mixed dawn chorus of song for company. Another male appeared or maybe the same one.
There are many different races of yellow wagtail which are mainly distinguished by the different coloured heads with the UK version being unique with its yellow and green. After some more waiting another bird appeared and this time landed on the barbed wire between the posts.
This bird stayed for a while and hopped up on to a post and started their distinctive high pitch call.
His efforts had the desired effect and a female quickly appeared nearby before they flew off together across the field at which point I decided it was time to make a move.
Before heading home I had a quick look around to see what else I could find but this only produced a Meadow Pipit.
and a hovering male kestrel on the look out for a rodent breakfast.
This was a good reminder that it probably time for me to head home for some cornflakes and cup of tea after a very enjoyable session. After breakfast It was then back to bed for an hour to rest those bleary eyes and ensure some functionality later in the day after the early start.