As we enter the festive period, would this make a top tune for an alternative Nativity play? Probably not.
It being December, Our Lass and I went into town yesterday morning, to stock up on provender (her - specific Christmas stuff; me - the weekly shop). However, before we'd even left the house, there was an early morning wildlife moment to savour. The field across the road is usually empty of animals at this time of year, the cattle having been moved into sheds to overwinter. At the moment, though, there are four sheep making the best of the slim pickings as grass growth slows down to zero.
A quick scan of the field with my bins revealed a group of two dozen Golden Plover, hunkered down in the sward, prompting a photo opportunity and a Facebook post highlighting the need for a woolly plover in this weather.
This morning, the plovers were there again (so I'm wondering if they roost there overnight), and with a bit more sunlight, I was hopeful of a better shot. Or at least a better crop of an image that is the result of sticking my camera out of the lounge window.
The plovers were several steps ahead of me. As the sun's liquid honey poured over the landscape, the birds congregated in the shadow cast by Tense Towers. I kid you not, they moved into the 'shade' to, I guess, improve their camouflage. It's likely that they would be a target for a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine or a Hen Harrier.
So, although the field was lit up left, right and behind them, I had to make do with the murk.
The sun, the absence of any breeze and the hope of more photography lured us outside for a wander around our usual circuit. It was a lovely morning, but the only excitement was a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a corvid down by the shore. The sprawk, completely unperturbed by the attention, even took time out to swoop down and spook a flock of waders off the beach, before resuming its serene way eastwards.
Back home, and once more staring out of the window, I spotted a pipit sat on the top wire of the fence of the field over the road. As the light was still peachy, I grabbed my bins to inspect the bird's side-lit features. Typically, at this point, it flew to the ground out of sight, so I waited patiently for it to resume its perch. When it flew back up, it wasn't alone, so when my lenses settled upon what I thought was the pipit, I had a bit of a shock.
As did the pipit, if this photo is anything to go by!
The Meadow Pipit is on the top bar of the gate, whilst lower down is a bird of similar size, but which had a beguiling shimmering effect going on with its tail. This characteristic, I knew, meant that it was a species of Redstart (and I wasn't expecting to see one of those at this time of year!).
I managed a few more blurry photos before the bird flew along a dry stone wall and disappeared among the buildings of the neighbouring farm.
You can just make out the red colour on its tail, but it is the smoky brown chest which allowed those who know these things to ID the bird as a Black Redstart. Very unexpected, very pleasing!