An uneventful walk out to Lollingdon today and as I reached the south side of the hill I thought I heard a Redstart call but in the windy conditions was not 100% sure.
I walked along the hill hoping to find a Wheatear but none present.
Around 30 mins later I was on the phone to Loren who was in London at the time when I caught sight of a cracking male Common Redstart in the hedgerow. We cut the phone call short, got the camera out, switched it on but the battery was dead. After a few short sharp words I replaced the battery but the bird was no longer on view. Okay let’s wait and see and fortunately after around 20 minutes it showed itself again.
It stayed on view long enough to get a series of photos thankfully. An early record for Redstart especially in Oxfordshire.
Right back to the rest: A Willow Warbler also on the hill (the first this year) and several Chiffchaff around and a Goldcrest in song.
At least 5 Fieldfare in a small flock flew over, 4+ Corn Bunting and a couple of Yellowhammer, also a single Jay present plus the regulars.
Butterflies: Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell.
The first Black Oil Beetles also seen, I've only found them present on the hill in Cholsey and they have a fascinating life cycle. They are a nationally threatened species and are identified as a priority for conservation. Please see the link - Oil Beetles