We went to Reculver on our last birdwatching trip in November. It was a rather cold, misty and drab sort of day. However one of the first birds that we saw was a black redstart hawking for insects(!) from the towers of the Roman Fort. Sally’s photograph does show the bird but, I admit, you will just have to believe me that it is a black redstart! Black redstarts became “famous” in this country because, during the 2nd World War, they colonised London bomb sites and derelict buildings. Clearly their habitat in London has declined but there are continuing conservation efforts to retain them as a breeding bird by creating rocky roof gardens and other structures. In Kent, and elsewhere, the birds have adopted large industrial sites as breeding places eg Dungeness, Kingsnorth and Grain power stations. Even so the latest BTO atlas gives the number of breeding pairs in the UK as a mere 19 to 44. Unlike the common redstart black redstarts stay with us in winter – and in winter, although they spread out, they still like ruins etc with vertical walls. Just like the Reculver towers in fact. A bit special I think. (This bird was also my 200th species for the year – but that has nothing to do with it).
On the way home we stopped at Oare (as you do). By this time it was all pretty murky and I thought this grey heron just about summed everything up.