My better half is in London for a few days so rather than head home to an empty house I decided to go birding for a few hours after work. I went to a spot in the Brecks where I had heard Tree Pipit, Woodlark and Common Redstart might be possible. While Woodlark or Tree Pipit would be nice it was really Common Redstart that I was after. However, what little information I had didn't suggest that they would be too common. Maybe a handful of birds if I was really lucky.
I had spent an hour and half walking around the location with nothing more to show than a couple of singing Blackcaps, a Green Woodpecker and a Willow Warbler. I had more or less given up when about one hundred yards down the path in front of me a bird flitted down onto a fence post and appeared for a moment to vibrate its tail. I got the bins onto it and could see it was a really handsome male Common Redstart. The light had faded by now (it was almost 8pm) and the bird preferred to keep some space between me and it. I didn't bother for shots and instead watched it for a while as it moved back and forth between the edge of the trees and the fence.
What a stunning bird and only fifteen minutes away from where I work.
I've purposefully kept the location very vague in case there's a female around and they decide to breed (hopefully).