Target Acquired

I don’t usually set off with the aim of targeting a particular bird or animal, I usually decide on a location and see what turns up. So it might be river, wood, moors or a reserve and off I go. However while watching the short eared owl I did spy a new bird  for me flying past and so I decided I would set off with the sole intent of photographing a Wheatear.

Wheatears overwinter in Sub Saharan Africa and at this time of year are just returning from an epic journey. They are small ground dwelling birds and are very much an upland bird enjoying the windswept moors above where I live.

After spending an unsuccessful half hour in the vicinity where I’d seen one a few days earlier I decided to move on and about a mile down the road was rewarded with a male perching perfectly on a rock.


They are a very smart bird with the male having a steel blue head and back and a pale orange chest and a very distinct white eye stripe.


They are slightly larger than a robin and tend to hop or run along the ground looking for insects. There were a couple of males about but I didn’t manage to spot a female so I guess a return trip is on the cards!


The name Wheatear is derived from the Old English for ‘white’ (wheat) and ‘arse’ (ear), referring to their white rump of course, displayed to perfection in this shot!




  1. marlandphotos · May 3, 2019

    Wow, glad you were successful!

    • spugwash · May 3, 2019

      Thank you, I’ve now been informed it may be a female I’ve photographed so I’ll be heading back to try and get two together so I know what I’m talking about haha!

      • marlandphotos · May 3, 2019

        So it goes! I had a photo of this bird, I was hoping was some kind of thrush, and when posting on: What’s this bird, they replied that it was a female red-winged blackbird!! 🙂 I remember the same thing happening a year ago, or so!

        • spugwash · May 7, 2019

          We all have to learn somewhere and its not always obvious in the books. And a new species is always a bit of a thrill isn’t it?

  2. bayphotosbydonna · May 8, 2019

    He looks as if he was waiting for you to find him, he posed so nicely! Great captures!

    • spugwash · May 9, 2019

      I’ve been told now that it’s probably a female, so a trip back is on the cards to get her mate!

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