April 2nd and we're up to 100. The last few days have been extremely productive, and none more so than today. I didn't get out early - beers last night put paid to that - but the Flats proved once again that it is a real migration hotspot.
Roy W was one of several visiting birders looking for the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. Stuart and I met him near West Copse and were pleased to hear that he had scored. While we continued to chew the fat, Roy, always on the hunt for photographic subjects, headed off to a distant Green Woodpecker. Meanwhile I fancied I saw a flash of reddy orange from near where he had gone, and it wasn't long before he was beckoning us over and pointing. Oooh goody, I thought, a Whinchat perhaps?
More black and white than orange really, but most welcome. I wondered if it was the same bird as a couple of days ago, but it didn't linger to ask it. Wondering where it had got to, a nearer bird drew our attention. Had it just flown in, as when it flew towards Long Wood it was clearly a female bird, whereas the first one had been a male. Two bird theory invoked again.
The three of us skirted the edge of Long Wood to see if we could pick them up again. As we did so, a small bird popped up in front of me. The eloquent phrase of "Shit! Redstart!" passed my lips, the flash of reddy-orange explained. It stayed faithful to the area long enough for a couple of others to see it, before vanishing as the Ouzels had done. Most unexpected, my first spring bird here, and #99 for the patch this year.
A Swallow swooped by, a handful of Sand Martins, a pair of Wheatear near the broom fields, and later in the afternoon, the #100 that merits this post - House Martin over. A little slow to start this year, but we seem to have accelerated into the peak season almost instantaeneously. Clearly somebody has turned the migrant tap on.