Desert Wheatear (Severn Beach) - sun-flower

An early Christmas present and my first sighting of this species! This lovely little Desert Wheatear turned up along the beach at Severn Beach, not far from Bristol. A first winter male which had obviously gone horribly wrong in terms of getting its first migration off to a good start. He should have been in north Africa, Arabia or western India (see distribution map at the bottom for more details)! Anyway, he was an absolute delight to watch, coming to within 2 or 3 metres of observers, allowing all of us with cameras to capture the moment. The bird was quite happy to walk towards us, seemingly without much fear.

In terms of photography, the light wasn't great (all shots are ISO800 or ISO1000) and the bird tended to choose the messiest setting possible to stand still in, but, hey, that's nature!

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Distribution of Desert Wheatear

Birdguides distribution map2

The eastern race of the Desert Wheatear breeds in a great swathe of Asia extending from the Middle East and Saudi Arabia through Iran, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, the south Caucasus, Turkestan, the Tarbagatai Mountains, the Altai Mountains and north western Mongolia. Birds from this region migrate southwards to overwinter in northeastern Africa, the Arabian peninsula, Iraq and Pakistan. The western race breeds in North Africa from Morocco and Rio de Oro to the part of Egypt west of the River Nile. This population is largely resident but in Morocco, birds in the south and east part migrate while those in the south west tend not to. (Info taken from BTO & Wikipedia, Image taken from Birdguides)