The wheatears are back! I spotted one in March on the Isle of Skye, and finally saw them here in the Lomond Hills in the last week of April. This particular one was photographed on Falkland Hill.
These lovely wee birds spend winters in sub-Saharan Africa before making the huge journey north in spring, and they’re quite easy to spot once they’re here. If you’re walking along an upland path and there’s a bird flying along the stone walls in front of you, flashing its white tail feathers as it does so… it’s probably a wheatear.
That white flashing has earned it the affectionate moniker of ‘wheatear whitearse’!
BBC Wildlife wanted to find a new way to share some of our readers’ natural-history diaries with other wildlife enthusiasts, and Local Patch Reporters was born.
Our 20 Local Patch Reporters for 2014 are aged from 10 to 64 and live from Dorset in the south to Shetland in the north.
Throughout this year they will be exploring and reporting on nature in their neighbourhood via online blogs.
Ben Dolphin is a local patch reporter from Fife.
Ben’s nature patch: Lomond Hills Regional Park and Kinross
I’m a seasonal assistant ranger with West Lothian Council and love being able to educate people, especially children, about the wonderful things around them. I also carry out wildlife surveys.
Wildlife aims for 2014: I saw ospreys for the first time last year and would like to see more again this year. I’d also like to take some photos of short-eared owls as I only see them when I don’t have a camera on me!