Saturday, 29 July 2017

Project Black Redstart in the City of Culture

About a month ago I was alerted by a message on social media about a pair of Black Redstarts in the City of Culture.  I made enquiries and was directed to a less than salubrious area of the city. I was given precise directions, but I actually came across the pair about a quarter of a mile nearer to the parking area than the directions stipulated.  I first saw the female, but she soon made herself scarce.  Later, the singing male was more obvious as he sang from a few prominent song posts, all of them incredibly industrial-looking.  It seemed impossible to observe the bird in attractive surroundings, but then that is something you don't really expect in the UK.
Displaying the tail to best effect
Female Black Redstart
 Male Black Redstart
 A bundle of fluffy coal
 A nice background colour, but shame about the wires
 On a rusty structure
My nephew wanted to see it so the following Sunday morning I went looking again.  This time it was singing much further away. , but much closer to the area originally described.  We just had to try and avoid the many early morning joggers.  This time we able to climb high on a public footpath and look down on the bird below us.  It is a location where you must be confined to a very narrow public footpath.   Unfortunately, although I was able to get closer to the bird it was incredibly overcast and seemed about to rain, so I decided to try on a brighter day.
 Rusty-tailed bird on a large pile of rust
 Probably the closest we got
 Surrounded by rust

 Even more industrial 

 Heavy Metal
 More Heavy Metal
 Subsequent lengthy visits on brighter days were very disappointing, as neither of the birds could be located.  Either they are quietly brooding a clutch, or as seems more likely they have given up the chance of breeding at all this year.  It is now nearly 4 weeks since I've seen any of these birds.  

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