Wednesday, 28 August 2013

'Le Animaux des Alps'- Le Rouge et Noir

We're all proud of the stupidest, most insignificant things aren't we? I mean look at my birding record, my proudest moment of UK birding was this winter when I spotted a Glaucous Gull in flight and pointed it out to a fellow birder. Hardly inspiring stuff. Or my Greater Manchester highlight, spotting Little Egret on my local water park. But these are trumped into insignificance by my foreign highlight, which isn't even rare.

When I was but a little kiddiwink, complete with oversized and over-focussed Viking binoculars, we went on holiday to France and to the mountains, as I have done many times since. When there we stayed in a little place I can't remember the name of, but the point was that I could see all these little birds around the place, all foraging round car parks and in the gardens and on the roads. What were they? I asked this question to my birdbook, a less-than-portable coffee table photographic version of the Hamlyn guide.

And my first birding coup was finding the answer to this question; the 'Rouge et Noir' as they said in the local tongue, or the 'Black and Red' in my own. And I think this pretty much sums up the bird in question, for the Black Redstart is characterised by these two simple and contrasting colours.

Sadly uncommon in the UK, its fantastic to be able to see them common as dirt on the continent and in being common and ubiquitous in towns they're also predictably very approachable. This post, as with almost all my efforts to photograph this species, concentrates on the juveniles, purely because they're more approachable...

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This individual was a baby, who'd flown a nest built in the side of a rusting JCB-type digger, which was a particularly cool nest site and something I didn't take full advantage of with the photos. What I did take advantage of though was the approachable nature of the bird at hand, if you look at the eye you can see the hillside reflected there...

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I also found a rather attractive one in Suburban Argentieres (if it has suburbs, I mean its smaller than my local park), part of a family of three youngsters being fed by an adult. This was particularly cute but never happened close enough to me for a shot, so I made do with some portraits...

Black Redstart- 'Le Rouge et Noir'

That characteristic upright chat stance...

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Anyhow a lovely bird and one particularly close to my heart. Next time I won't do a bird at all, but I will do the closest thing to one... :D

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