I recently discovered a not-so-secret location in Anglezarke where Redstarts are known to breed and so this morning I set off to find them. Parking was easy and the birds were only a couple of hundred metres away along a public footpath. As is the way with these things, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find the birds or see them clearly, but to my amazement I spotted the distinctive black and red of the male bird on the old stone wall from at least 50 metres away.
I stopped well short of the bird and soon a female appeared too. With mouthfuls of insects, it was obvious that they were both feeding young somewhere. With this in mind I didn't want to get too close, so I approached slowly and placed my camera tripod down about 20 metres away from them. It has to be said that this is trail footpath which is very busy with passing dog walkers and ramblers, some who even brushed the vegetation shown in the photos.
I watched as they followed a familiar pattern of catching the insects on the trail path and then flying to one particular branch before diving into the vegetation. As they did this quite a few times I decided that the branch was the best place to take a photograph. I moved the camera a little closer and set it to record video while I moved away and left it running. Just before leaving them to feed their young in peace, I took a couple of snapshots on the branch. It was very dark and shady here and the birds were constantly moving and flicking their tails as can be seen in the video at the top of this page. Together with the low light levels, this made getting a sharp shot difficult.
Later I did try to take some shots up in the trees but the light was against me and I am not happy with any of them. However, I was very pleased to have seen a male Redstart in full plumage at last and I may return at a later date when the sun has moved round to a better position.