Having discovered that the western approach road to Beacon Hill is closed, I headed for Pigdon, driving slowly with my windows open to pick up any calls or song.
I happened upon a small area of woodland and a Redstart was singing. I spent the next hour trying to see it. How can such a beautiful and brightly coloured bird remained unseen, even when it seems to be right in front of me? A Garden Warbler was giving it both barrels. I didn't see that either. This is a spot that I shall visit again. There were Great, Blue, Coal and Long Tailed Tits, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Curlews in the surrounding pasture and a pair of French Partridges. A Cuckoo called in the distance.
I needed to visit Heighley Gate Garden Centre, so gave up the Redstart search.
Having failed to find snails for our pond at the Garden Centre, the lure of seeing the Redstart drew me back to the small wood and I picked up the call of another Redstart on the way, but didn't stop to search for it.
Back at my original wood, there were two Redstarts singing. This time, after about 15 minutes, my quarry sat in a small bush in full view. If it's not raining tomorrow, I may persuade my beloved to join me for another look. I may need to throw in the offer of lunch at a convenient farm shop.
I then took a circuitous route to the eastern approach to Beacon Hill and sat on the car bonnet, to see what would show. Sometimes, just finding some where to sit, watch and listen, produces pleasant surprises and such was the case this afternoon.
One of my favourite mammals, a Hare, loped across the road and then loped back, turning towards me, it sat and seemed to stare at me for a minute, before loping back in to the wood.
I turned to search the trees and a Stoat ran along the wall. A Buzzard appeared briefly. A Chiffchaff was in full song and it was good to hear a Song Thrush. No other birds of note, but it was getting late. I must try and make an early morning visit to Beacon Hill sometime.