Redstart are singing all along Scout Scar escarpment and each year a male sings from this same white-beam growing in the cliff- edge. He sings to attract a mate and does his best to conceal himself from a photographer- there's no cover up here and I can come no closer. The moment walkers with dogs appear the bird dips silently over the cliff into the hanging wood. They are faithful to territory, returning to the same trees year after year. Once the breeding season is well underway they're less vocal, so now is the time to admire them.
It's a blustery day with north-east winds but they're still singing, audible above the wind. White-beam leaf buds are bursting and gorse is a blaze of yellow. I visit the other sites where I've found redstart before, and confirm how faithful to territory the birds are. Redstart are spring migrants, newly arrived, eager to find females and to breed.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)