Having seen not much on a tour of a few sites, I found myself working the hedge, to the west of the car-park at Eldernell, which is a viewpoint over the Nene Washes. This particular hedge has a reputation for turning up good birds, the best of which was a Wryneck a few years ago. But its main reputation is founded upon Redstarts, and along with Ferry meadows CP, it is one of the most reliable sites in the county (Cambs) for these lovely birds.
Having walked the length of the main part of the hedge, I saw plenty of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats, but not a hint of Redstart. So, I was heading back, when a pure ‘hooeet’ call caught my ear. It sounded just like a Willow Warbler call, but rapidly repeated and steady, without any ‘broken’ notes. Surely, it was a Redstart! A couple of minutes later, out popped a gorgeous male Redstart, looking almost as pretty as a spring individual (when they tend to look at their best).
This is the first Redstart I have found anywhere this year, and the third I have seen locally, after the singing male in spring and last week’s female at FMCP. What a lovely bird!