Latin name: Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Length: 14cm Wingspan: 20.5 - 24cm

Where: Inchcailloch; Glen Falloch; any open deciduous woodland

When: Late spring and summer

The ‘start’ in redstart comes from the Old English ‘steort’, meaning ‘tail’ – often all you will see of these shy birds as they flit among the trees. If you do get a good look at one you will find that a male redstart looks a bit like an outlaw robin – the same rusty-red breast, but wearing a full black mask over its face and neck. As befits a renegade it also looks longer and leaner than our round, cuddly, garden robin.

Glen Falloch is a good place to find them among the old sessile oak woods. Because they feed on insects they are only here in the summer. Once the autumn chill arrives the lack of food drives them back to sub-equatorial Africa for the winter months.

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Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new discoveries.

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods