Today was one of those morning when I really had to work hard to spot anything. The White Coppice dippers were out of sight (Rick saw a fledging dipper yesterday). I could hear a stonechat but could I see it.... A couple of us could hear a grasshopper warbler but it too remained illusive. And there was neither sight nor sound of the redstart which I've missed on every visit.... But gradually things got better, with the help of another birder I saw a blackcap and a newly arrived spotted flycatcher.
Then up over the Nab and on to Heapey where I spotted hedge sparrows, a pied wagtail carrying food and swifts. After a chat to the lodge keeper the rain began. I sheltered under a tree and noticed a blue tit's nest and my first house martins of the year. They moved on and I followed. And as the rain increased so did the martins: 10 ... 20 ... 30 ... and finally almost 40 house martins along with some swallows were busily scooping up flies. Some flying within three feet of me. And as I reached the road, I couldn't believe it - two more (or the same two?) spotted flycatchers also making the most of the sudden abundance of flies. A song thrush, a pair of mistle thrush. Well worth staying out in the rain for.
Photo of spotted flycatcher used by kind permission of Phil Kirk, Chorley NATS. Click on it to enlarge.