Meet the Stonechat (Saxicola torquata), the bird whose song sounds like two pebbles being rapped together, hence its common name.
These little birds, about the size of your average Robin, usually live a little north of where I live in south Wales, preferring the plantations of conifers that grow in the Welsh valleys and the heathland of the Brecon Beacons. But, come the cooler temperatures of autumn they begin to move south to over-winter in slightly warmer climes.
I saw my first local bird at the Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve on 17 September, a pair at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park on 6 October, and then a solitary female at Grangemoor Park last Sunday, 8 October.
Stonechats are not always easy to spot, as they duck down amongst tall grass and wildflowers in their search for insects and seeds, and their colours act as good camouflage. But, luckily, they also have a habit of perching on the tops of those grasses and wildflowers and on low shrubs so they can keep an eye out for threats – and humans with cameras! – so I have managed to get a few distant photos.