The M Common Redstart was still present at Napton-om-the-Hill on 24/07 and a Juv. was found there on 25/07 (reports from Paul Cashmore and Dennis Woodward). On the latter date the real shocker came when I looked up from the sink as I did the washing up and glimpsed what appeared to be a Black Redstart hop under Sarah’s car. Following a brief but uncomfortable pause it emerged and I was greeted with the sight of a F Black Redstart some twenty feet away from the window. I went out with a compact camera and the bird immediately flipped up on to the landlords roof and then dropped over towards his garden. I did several rounds of the immediate area in an effort to relocate it but there was no sign. In the process I was really pleased to discover that earlier speculation our Spotted Flycatcher was unpaired was entirely wrong and it has in fact raised at least two young. I live in a barn conversion which is one of several surrounding the courtyard at Woolscott Manor and have often thought Black Redstart was a possibility but never expected one to occur in July. In the West Midlands region July records of the species (away from known breeding sites) are rare and often involve juveniles. Though only seen briefly the Woolscott bird was seen well and showed no obvious signs of immaturity. It is the first one I have found in Warwickshire and the first I have seen in the Upper Leam Valley. Previous records in the valley are singles from Grandborough 10/04/81, Napton Res. 11/04/94 and two on a building site at in Napton village in September 1995. It was whilst searching for these that I followed the road up from the allotments and discovered the hill as a birding locality. The rest as they say is history.

Thanks to John Judge who tidied up his shot of the Black-crowned Night Heron at Meadowlands Fishery and sent me a copy. The photo appears to be more popular than the bird itself………………………………………….

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Black-crowned Night Heron, Meadowlands Fishery, by John Judge.