The Northern Wheatear

One of our summer migrants to arrive is the Weatear, that arrives during late March and April. Indeed, the saying is that the first Cuckoo or Swallow is the arrival of spring, but often the Wheatears beat them to it.  

With a summer breading population of around 250,000 pairs the Wheatear is a common bird on our moorland and mountains and can be found in any suitable habitat of rough ground from the coast through to some of the high mountain tops. It is found across most of Britain with the exception of parts of the midlands and South East England, and all of Ireland.  It is found across most of the Northern Hemisphere and has a global population of over 3,000,000 pairs.

The male Wheatear is a lovely bird which is easy to identify from the female and from other species.  The species that visits Britain is the Northern Wheatear, although very occasionally we do get other birds on migration such as Desert Wheatear.  Globally there are 23 different species of Wheatear, and many of them (including our Northern Wheatear have several sub species)

These images are from a variety of British areas from the Islands of Eigg, Uist, and Shetland.  Also a couple of the images are from Iceland.

Below is a very young Wheatear, probably only a few weeks old that had only just fledged the nest