Friday, 25 April 2014

The Wyre, The Patch, A Green-Winged Teal and a Yellow Browed Warbler!

Having spent over 8 hours in a car the previous day, I decided to stretch my legs, so I decided on a very long walk from within the county of Shropshire back to Stourport, a route which would take me through a variety of woodlands, farmland and along the river. A good mix of habitats and hopefully I would check some areas that I may not have previously visited!
I didn't particularly plan very well though, so no map, or compass, just me, a sense of direction and some common sense.

The first standout bird of the walk came when I found one of the TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL at Postemplain, calling its head off from deep within the pines. Sadly however, apart from this though the surrounding pine plantations were rather devoid of life.

Moving across the road I then worked my way through the main bulk of the forest, along a variety of rather confusing path! Although very little wildlife was seen, it was great to be able to be somewhere, and not see, or hear a single person! I really was in the middle of no-where! I managed to find my way onto the Dowles Brook valley, and followed this all the way until it outflows into the River Severn. Sadly, again this was rather devoid of life, sadly still a little too early in the year for the forest to be back in the full swing of things!

At the outflow of the brook, a pair of Mandarin and a single drake Goosander were perched together on a log.
Continuing south, I finally made it back onto patch, where 2 Mandarin and 3 Goosanders were quickly located. Again though, from here, it all went quiet, and I finally plodded back home many hours after I first started out! A very tiring, but enjoyable walk!

A drake Tufted Duck was present on the reservoir behind my Dudley house! My 2nd of the spring!

A journey out to Sheepwash was rewarded with a flock of 11 Goosander, but other than that, it was rather hard to be enthused by the visit. Sadly, it has been very quiet at this location for most of the winter!


It was with luck, that the Green-winged Teal that had been found the week before had stayed around all week, and late on the Friday, some spare time had me heading over to Warwickshire for a couple of birds. Eventually, we made our way down to the flashes at Morton Baggot. Initially, there was no sign of the Teal as we scanned the closest flash (e.g. where it had been seen), but when walking further still, I could scan the distant flash, and among a small flock of Eurasian Teal was a 'yank' interloper with some white on it going the wrong way!


With the light fading, it was near impossible to digi-scope, but in my typical enthusiasm, I still tried!

A single Wigeon joined the Teal flock on the distant flash, but the most interest was on the near flash, where my first 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER of the year were feeding! I always have a moment of joy when picking up my first migrants of the year, and with LRP they are one of my favorites, so it was great to have seen them fresh in from Africa! 5 Green Sandpiper also probed the muddy edges of the pool, and a single Common Snipe made an appearance in the tussocks!


This morning was all about the Mandarins, and I fairly quickly located 7 along a stretch of the river. As you would expect, they were being very flirty this morning, and the males were rather aggressive towards each other. A fairly even split could be seen, with 4 drakes and 3 females, which is a typical count, with there usually being more drake Mandarins about than females.

One of the pairs were checking out one of the nestboxes, but had some trouble getting back out.  

Two of the 3 females:

And three of the four drakes.

Later the same day, we took the same route as we had the previous night, and after dodging a heavy rainshower, we arrived again to Morton Baggot, where we again found the GREEN-WINGED TEAL, but in much better light.

However, it was again distant of the far flash, but after about 10 minutes, it flew across to the near flash where we had great views of it as it fed adjacent to a small flock of Eurasian Teal again.

It spent much of its time hiding from us in the 'channels' in the field, and often dropped out of view, but it slowly dabbled its way closer to us. It never approached really closely, but scope views were decent. In the times the bird was running across between the channels, you could see just how different it was to Teal. Other than the obvious vertical white bar along the breast side, the extent of the salmon colour was also noticeably stronger. The head pattern also differed, with the yellow border of the green eyestripe being very pale, and almost non-existent.

Soon after though, and unknown reason sent the bird  into the sky with the rest of the Teal flock and dropped back onto the flash, where it fed alongside one of the Little Ringed Plovers from the previous night!

I had been wanting to catch up with the Yellow browed warbler again since i had brief, and somewhat unsatisfying views just before it went back to roost back in February. So, having arrived at Uffmoor wood for yet another visit we made our way along the track.
Within minutes, we had been thoroughly soaked and pelted with hail as we walked, but by the time we arrived at the far end of the wood it had cleared and we were treated to bright sunshine!

It was after just clearing the dreaded mud patch that i heard a call that i had been hoping for! The search had been made a whole lot easier!
The distinctive, loud 'Psweet' call rang out from the small birches adjacent to the track, and soon after, there hopping from branch to branch in a small area of holly was the stunning  yellow and green  of the YELLOW BROWED WARBLER!

Much easier than last time!

Over the course of the next 30 minutes, we were treated to good on/off views and it moved around, occasionally latching onto a passing flock of other small passerines. It quickly came clear it was particularly prone to doing this in the presence of both Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tits, but if it strayed from 'its' area too far it would double back and wait for the next flock to pass through its temporary territory.

In one of these 'passes' the bird gave stunning views down to about 15ft, but being so restless, i couldn't find it while trying to digi-bin it! A shame because at that range i may have actually got a decent photo of it!
I did manage to get one photo though that doesn't completely hide the bird behind twigs, but it was just flying off.

Take a look at those legs however! Bright yellow! Stunning!

The bird did manage to elude us for some time after this though, until it proclaimed its present from right next to the track!

It was feeding in the leaf litter!

Here we had prolonged views as it slowly hopped its way through the leaves, flicking them to find food underneath, in a similar fashion to Thrushes! I couldn't help but feel privileged to see this behavior, as it is something that I was not aware this species did! It just seemed so wrong for a 'Phyllosc' to be hopping around on the floor like that. Presumably this is something the bird had learnt in its presence within Uffmoor, as it would have been one of/the only place where it would have been able to find food during the 'colder' winter months?

If so, that is a great piece of opportunistic learnt behaviour from this eastern migrant!

As many of you many know, I have a bit of a 'thing' with 'Leaf warblers'. Each of them are incredibly smart looking birds, with those mossy greens and lemon yellows contrasting to clean white underparts! Combine that with their tiny size, their epic migrations and their scarcity, and you have a truly incredible bird!

To have one wintering in a rather shoddy Worcestershire woodland has been a pleasure!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Having done my fair share of survey work, Birdtracking and local birding for a fair proportion of the year, it was with great 'reluctance' that I found myself at some stupid hour in the morning standing listening to Skylarks singing with local photographer Vern Wright as we waited for our fellow twitchers to arrive.


A golf course in Pembrokeshire, one which I know very well having holidayed in the area for many years was currently playing host to a Cuckoo from far south in Europe, Iberia to be precise. As well as being a very rare bird, the last having been a few years back, it is also a very unpredictable visitor, and visits tend to be very brief, single day, and very often, single observer birds!

In summery, it is a real pain in the arse to see this far north.

So with a rather stunning 1st year bird strutting its stuff at close range for a few days, it only felt right to take a day off from the local scene and make use of some spare time!
Obviously, the worst feeling when long distance birds is those first few hours in the car as you drive in the dark. What will light bring?
Will it still be there?
Has it gone?
Luckily however, the popularity of this bird was obvious, and being a Saturday, the bird was certain to draw a crowd, so not long after first light, the first few tweets started to creep out as we headed south down the A40. "Great Spotted Cuckoo is still there!". However, we still had a distance to go! And it was time to share some banter with the full car, and much was shared between the 5 birders/togs as we cruised towards our destination!
It didn't seem long before familiar landscape appeared, and once past Carmarthern it really wasn't too much longer before pulling up in a rather crowded Penally Train station car park!

Instantly, the scrum was visible, and we we soon were walking out onto the dunes!

A few birders were talking of the brief views they had had that morning, up on the cliff slopes on Giltar, but it seemed to have disappeared. A few minutes after, I noticed a birder up on top of the cliff pointing out too sea. What did that mean!

A few minutes after that, the unthinkable had happened as a tweet popped up on my phone! It had flown off out to sea!
A sudden sinking of the heart followed, and the look of disbelief on my companions faces is still visible in my memory. Ouch! The only thing that kept us going (despite the fact that we had driven so far) was that the report mentioned that the bird 'possibly' could had landed on one of the offshore islands. 10 Minutes turned to half an hour, half an hour to an hour. Still nothing...

(Insert appropriate word of choice here)

Scanning across towards Caldey Island revealed a single Great-northern Diver out on the sea, and also a Shelduck and a Razorbill. But no spotted Cuckoo.

Luckily, a knowledge of the area meant that we were soon heading off further up the coastline to St Govans Head. A large expanse of rock strewn grasslands atop steep cliffs leading to dense stands of gorse slightly further inland! It took only a few minutes to locate one of the targets, and 2 CHOUGH were easily located as they called and flew around, before dropping into an open sandy area in front of me. With their blood red bill and legs, they really are smart birds!
It amazes me when people complain about Corvids, if you look at them, they really are sublime birds, shimmering purple, green, blue and silver as they move!

After having worked our way across the headland, I scanned Broad Haven beach distantly from atop the cliffs. A large flock of Gulls had drawn my attention (naturally!) and right in the centre of the flock, standing out like a beacon stood a humongous slab of white! Distance prevented a conclusive ID, but on size alone I was already knowing what this was. After informing the group, we moved quickly to a closer viewpoint, losing sight of the beach for a matter of seconds. 

Scope down, viewing the beach. Errm. Where is it?
All that were present were Herring and GBBG...

Surely I hadn't cocked it up that much?

Our photographic companions went back to the Fulmars gliding along the clifftops and I moved closer to the edge of the Cliff and peered down!

Another view of white!!

This time very close as it pelted past us just below the height of the cliff, and at an angle where its huge pink and black tipped bill stood out a mile!! 1st winter GLAUCOUS GULL!
BOOM! Mike and Phil got onto it quickly as it circled above the beach with a few Herring Gulls, shining in the bright sunshine. Despite still being distant, I still tried to digi-scope it, and i managed one shot showing its white wing tips! (You will have to trust me though!)

Moving back across the Headland, we were informed of a BLACK REDSTART showing on the cliff slope below the coastguard watchpoint building. A short time after and we were watching a rather stunning 1st winter male as it fed on a steep rock covered hillside, flitting and flycatching off the prominent rocks far below us.

It was actually rather a surprise just how much it blended into the rather similarly coloured rocks, and it was often lost from views as it made its way up and down the cliffface.

It was just as the bird flicked up onto the grass in front of me (great view!) and was just as quickly blown back down the cliff by a gust of wind that I heard my phone. It was a fellow young midlands birder.

The wind muffled out most of the sound but I picked up the occasional word.

"ugrfs kdvids CUCKOO kjbfs BACK!!"

That was enough to make me power walk behind the building

"THE CUCKOO IS BACK" He was watching it right now!

A very quick exit of the headland, and a pleasant 'jaunter' of a car journey back through the county lanes of Pembrokeshire soon saw us pulling into the car park for the 2nd time! This time I really was in a rush to get out there! I really didn't want to miss it again! (I still didn't run!)

I spied Espen atop one of the dunes on the edge of the crowd, and as I approached out flew the GREAT-SPOTTED CUCKOO from the vegetation just in front of the crowd! Having dropped in behind one of the dunes, I scrambled up to the crowd!

And there it was!

Ok, not the crippling views the crowd had been having since it reappeared, but still, great scope views of what can only be described as a stunning looking bird! Just look at that pale silver hood, that lemon yellow throat, the spotting on the wing coverts, and that stunning, ridiculously long, pied tail!

Every negative thought earlier was forgotten!

It had a good taste for the nations caterpillars, and it scoffed many while we were watching, jumping about in the long dune grass near the top of a dune.

It must be said, once we heard the bird had flown out to sea earlier in the day, I did honestly think that it wouldn't appear again. And that was only made worse by it still not having shown for 4-5 hours after it flew off!

After about 20 minutes showing on the sand dune, the bird flew off distantly and perched on a hedgeline towards the Tenby end of the golf course, where it then promptly disappeared!

While the crowd stayed stationary in the dunes, me and Mike walked up the beach to find another viewpoint, and in doing so found 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Sanderling foraging along the tideline!

Our change of position though didn't help, and we couldn't pick up the Cuckoo, so we headed back, at which point we decided to head back to the midlands, each one of us happy with finally seeing the mega Cuckoo, a beast of a Glauc and a Black Redstart!
Great day!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Birding in the Wyre forest area!

The good thing about having some free time on a weekend is you can guarantee that a good thrash of the patch is in order!
And it was with the intention of early migrants I headed out in the hope of some early migrants. Sadly however, it was more of the 'old' than the new. A good number of  winter visitors were still hanging on, with a good party of 18 Lapwing, and both Redwing and Fieldfare still in evidence on the riverside fields. Additionally to these, 2 Goosander and 4 Mandarin remained on the river.

It was however, fairly quiet, so later in the morning i headed over to Stanklyn Lane, where the wintering flock of Corn Bunting was still in evidence! With some patience and some cover behind an oak tree along the road, i was eventually treated to stunning views as they were flushed down the field by dog walkers. At a few points, I was surrounded by the whole flock, a number of which were singing constantly!

After a little while, a number of the birds started dropping down and started feeding among the plowed soils of the field, giving brilliant, and prolonged views!

Many people may look at these birds and think 'yet another LBJ- Or little brown job to the folks that don't have the grasp on the birding lingo'.

To me however, the sound of singing Corn Bunting, and its family relative, the Yellowhammer are two sounds that are synonymous with a picture of British farmland, and it really is such a shame to witness numbers dropping so quickly!

Following some survey work at a variety of undisclosed sites, I decided to drop into Postemplain, and i soon heard at least 2 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL calling, but rather than investigating further decided to head off and do some more survey work!


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Birding in the local area, Gulls and Farmland birds.

With a juvenile Iceland Gull currently roosting at Bartley, the decision was taken to rush down there to try and get one of these gorgeous white winged beauties from up north.

The usual scrum of local Gull roosters had assembled, and it wasn't long until the Gulls started to pile in. While panning the Gull flock as they settled in front of us, I was suddenly stuck by a small white headed bird towards the left hand end of the flock. Being larger than the surrounding Lesser Black-backed and Herring, and with its pale back it stood out like a beacon from the flock. It was only another CASPIAN GULL! And a stunning example of a 1st winter bird!
In my honest opinion, 1st winters are by far the best looking age of Caspian Gull, so to have self found one in the roost at Bartley (where I rarely manage to find many birds) was pretty awesome!

As I shouted this bird out to the next car along, occupied by Andrew, a return came, the juvenile ICELAND GULL, and soon after, I was watching this very crisp looking stunner!

As the Gull flock was very restless, they soon relocated, and most dropped in by the sailing club. We quickly adjusted our viewing position, where we had stunning views of the Iceland Gull, but I couldn't refind the Caspian. And then the phone call, Terry was watching it sitting on the pontoon from the dam!


With a quick powerwalk to the car, and an equally quick drive around to the dam, we arrived to the news that it had flown off!
Relentless scanning until the very last shreds of light revealed only one other brief view, as it again returned onto the water near the pontoon. But once again, the flock flushed and it was not seen again!
The next day was spent birding in the home county with fellow young birder and NGB Espen. Having trained it up from his home the main intention was trying to find him his first Casp, so, following a drop into Shenstone, it was up to the local tip and onto the beautiful location of Bartley Green!
It was great to exit the car at Shenstone to the sound of singing CORN BUNTINGS, and it took a ridiculous amount of effort to walk the entirety of 20ft to get a view of these. And not just a couple, a superb flock of at least 25 as they commuted between a hedgeline and the ploughed field. Unfortunately however, viewing was cut short when a local dogwalker walked along the hedgeline, flushing the vast majority of the Finch/bunting flock, which also consisted of a few gorgeous Yelowhammers!

Moving onto Wildmoor, it didn't add too much optimism when a local birder, who was just leaving and had been present all morning said that it was very quiet. Regardless, we headed up, and were soon scanning the amassed Gull flocks in the adjacent fields.
Which contained not a single bird of interest...
So, refocusing my attention, and the juvenile ICELAND GULL was picked up flying about over the tip, moving back and forth in the airspace between our location and the far side of the tip. However, it refused to land, and after some time circling with the gull flock, was seen to fly off west!
A single Green Sandpiper within the quarry was a first for the year, but one I had been trying to hold back for later in the year. In this instance, the bird found us!
Our last port of call was Bartley, via Hopwood, where we failed to find the Shrike!
Pulling up on Scotland lane revealed the presence of very few Gulls, and it remained that way until the very last available light, when masses of gulls piled in. Sadly, a little to late, and we soon gave up, the light was just unworkable by that point!
Another roost session at Bartley was again fairly uneventful, but the presence of 4 Goldeneye was something different, as I haven't seen too many of them at Bartley this winter!
It about time I gave the patch a good old thrash right?
Of course!
So, at a relatively early time (please do remember I am a student after all!), I grabbed the scope and the bins and set off. It was great to see the Mandarins still haunting the river margins, with a minimum of 4 found (2 pairs). Also adding a splash of colour to the drab greys and browns of the riverside vegetation were a pair of resident Goosander, which were diving in their usual area as they have done all winter! Needless to say, they were as timid as always and soon scooted upriver.

What really made my patch visit though were the small numbers of 'farmland' birds present around the paddocks, a flock of 18 Lapwing fed in a flooded field, and a party of 7 Meadow Pipit were flitting around the area.
I couldn't help but think that spring was on its way, and I would soon be joined in these very fields by stacks of migrants!
On the return leg, I managed to find a singing Marsh Tit well away from the normal areas they visit! So I am also very hopeful that they may finally expand their range a little more on patch!
Later the same day, I couldn't resist another drop into Shenstone, and this is why!

Standing on the roadside I was completely surrounded by the flock of 30c CORN BUNTINGS, most of them singing that lovely jangly song that is so reminiscent of the English countryside! Its so sad to think that now that this exact sound is missing from most areas of the UK, fields that once were filled by the sound of birdsong now lies quiet and desolate.
It makes me feel somewhat glad I have a location such as Shenstone so close to home.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Monday nights i generally walk home from college. A route which takes me thought the Wrens nest NNR, past the reservoir and across the fields at the bottom of the road. This usually allow me to get a few Birdtrack records done as i walk along, usually just a few Great Tits, Nuthatches and Stock Doves. But, as i have recently mentioned on here, the reservoir has been holding Goosanders throughout the winter, so i make a habit to go out of my way to have a walk around this small pool.

Today it paid dividends, as as soon as i got a view of the water i saw a small duck feeding on the far side. A female POCHARD! Mega! 
Not a species i had expected on this pool, as in the years i have lived in the area i have never seen a diving duck (other than the Goosanders of this winter) on the pool. She gave great views from the shore, diving repeatedly, oblivious to the weed smokers, the fishermen and the dog-walkers.

With the light fading, it was time to move on, and it was while walking over the fields near my house that a small bird perched up on some bramble next to me! A male STONECHAT! A double mega night! With only a few minutes of daylight, a quick run home to collect my scope and i was soon back watching the male Stonechat as he moved between weeds.
For years i have watched this field, mainly in the hope of Chats as the habitat present seems perfect for them, however, a series of poor winters had meant that few birds have wintered in the area.

Happy with my two area megas, i returned home!

The next morning, i was back again, and i soon located the male Stonchat, but was immensely surprised when a female bird then flicked up onto an adjacent patch of weeds! TWO STONECHAT! Unbelievable! Somewhat like the local bus service, you wait ages and then 3 turn up at once!

Carrying on, it was a quick walk to the reservoir, where the female Pochard was still showing, and again, feeding well. A party of 6 Goosander had also joined the party, and 2 Grey Wagtail were flitting about the muddy shoreline.

Following a decent walk, i arrived to look for a famous local attraction, and i soon was looking in the top of a broken oak tree where a TAWNEY OWL roosts daily and has done so for many years. For once however, he chose to wake up in response to another nearby Tawney Owl, and started hooting at it before having a scratch.

Himley Hall lake is an area i very rarely visit, so i chose to walk even further to have a look at it, and soon after, a male Pochard was feeding close inshore, being followed by Black-headed Gulls in among the Coots and Mallards

The male Stonchat remained on the field at the bottom of the road, but despite searching, it would seem as if he company was only a one day wonder, and being the lonely fellow he was, he also departed the following night.

This night also saw me walk back from college, and it was quite a surprise to see that the female Pochard remined on the pool, feeding incessantly during the time i watched it. Again, this proved to be the last i saw of the bird, hopefully having migrated to somewhat more pleasant surroundings


Patch watching can be great sometimes. The increased floodwater present across the country leads to some very interesting conditions for patch watching.

In my case, the high levels of water means a huge increase in the number of gulls on patch, and over the period of a week or so, a large flooded field became temporary home to around 1500 Gulls. Primarily Black-Headed, but the remainder being either Lesser-Black-backed (300c) and Herrings (Up to 100 at a time). Being within the river valley, there was a constant turn over of birds, so so spending hours scanning the flocks reaped new counts throughout the day.
It was while in one of these scans that an interesting pale backed gull dropped in among the assembled birds.

Immediately, alarm bells ringing, small head, tiny dark eye, long, parallel bill. Somewhat barrel chested. This is starting to look like a CASPIAN GULL! As its waddled about on its long legs, it stood out fairly dramatically from the surrounding birds. In doing so, it revealed some brown edging to its coverts and tertials, indicating the bird to be a 3rd winter. Some small white mirrors were starting to form on the primarys, but these were far from complete.
Only after a few minutes viewing however, the inevitable first dog-walkers of the day started to appear, and a large proportion of the Gull flock took flight. Luckily, i stayed on the interesting gull, and as it flew off in a southerly direction, revealed a broken tail band, with white middle tail feathers.

What a bird to have on the patch!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Waders, Geese and a Bluetail!

Slimbridge has been hosting huge numbers of waterbirds throughout the winter, particularly waders, and it was due to this that i decided a trip down was in order!

Immediately obvious, even from the car park was the huge flock of around 2000 Golden Plover which were feeding and flying around the Tack piece. With the early morning sun behind us, it was a pleasure to sit and watch the numerous waders, ducks and Swans scattered across the flooded meadow.

Moving onto the Holden tower, everything started to happen at once. The White-Fronted Goose flock was unfortunately not playing ball, and had decided to feed along the seawall to the north, and was unviewable.

So, i concentrated on scanning the hundreds of Dunlin looking for a scarce wintering bird. At least 800 were scattered across the flooded Dumbles, no doubt still exploiting the food rich soils that had been deposited by the very high tides on many occasions throughout the year. With some scanning, i picked up one of the LITTLE STINTS feeding way out on the Dumbles, but it soon flushed with every other bird, and once they resettled, it (or another) was re-located! Feeding on the pool in front of the hide!

I always enjoy this stunning tiny wading bird, their restless activity and subtle beauty in winter, and indeed every plumage is just irresistible. I am always amazed when these stunners stay to winter in the UK, as they really should be in southern Europe/ Africa at this time of year!
Against this Lapwing, you can clearly see just how small these birds are, tiny little gems, and one which always brightens up a day!

But it was soon back to scanning Geese, and while scanning the Barnacle goose flock which had been pushed up onto the Dumbles by the tide the Dark-Belled Brent Goose appeared. Sadly however, my first 'decent' view of it over the winter revealed that its wing was really not in good shape, and the bird was constantly dragging it behind and along the floor. A sad fate for any migratory bird, but luckily for it, there aren't too many places too much better for Geese to reside than at Slimbridge.
Somehow i can't see this bird leaving, so you would presume that this bird will become a permanent fixture of the feral Barnacle Goose flock.

Meanwhile, the White-Fronts flew up, and flew slightly further out onto the Dumbles to allow some viewing. A short while later, and i picked up the TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE as it happily fed alongside its Russian friends.
Now, i understand i may have caused some controversy by agreeing with the Slimbridge wardens about this bird being a Bean Goose, but out in the field, it really did look convincing as one, despite its smaller than average size (but which still fits within variation of the species). The 'worrying' features mentioned by some were not obvious like they were in some photos that seemed to suggest characteristics of a hybrid origin.

Scoping from the Holden revealed a singe Avocet roosting on the Top new piece, and also rather surprisingly a flock of 37 Grey Heron perched out on the estuary edge where the Little Egrets usually perch, which, upon enquiring, i was informed was a new record for the site!

With the superb Siberian gem still present in the beautiful Shire valley not much further to the south, it would have been rude not to have visited for seconds!

And a short while after, we were again watching the stunning 1st winter male RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL, and luckily, in much more enjoyable circumstances. A small gathering of around 10 birders/ Photographers, and a Bluetail playing hide and seek in a Hawthorn in the sun!
What is not to love!

With the obviously more relaxed surroundings, the bird often would perch up regularly for long periods of time, a massive contrast to it being constantly harassed and pushed around the first time i saw it. It really gave me the chance to admire its beauty as it commuted from 'its' Hawthorn and the ground where mealworms had being placed.

Do i need say any more?