While Shetland offers opportunities to photograph wildlife rarely seen elsewhere in the UK, it's not a place to head to if you love raptors, which of course I do. Back home, after sorting through the thousands of images from that trip, I was keen not to miss out on anything that might turn up.
Cue a red-footed falcon, which was spotted near an old colliery in Staffordshire. The first day it was reported, I had decided to visit the long-staying melodious warbler near Marsh Lane, which had also decided to depart the night before I got there. After all the comments about it being one for constantly singing, the absence of anything other than linnets singing, was a bit of a clue, so I ended up photographing the numerous swallows skimming the crop fields for flying insects. Challenging with a tripod-mounted lens.
Didn't take long to see them, but I was hoping to get some shots of them perched up for a change. Taking as many narrow winding country lanes as I could find, I eventually arrived at a common, being mowed by several tractors and, following behind were maybe twenty or so red kites.
First to grab my attention were some barn swallows. They had perched up on a fence beside the road, and unlike the redstarts and whinchats that had zipped away as I rolled up, these sat still. Perhaps enjoying some warmer sunshine after the unusually cold spell of weather lately.