I have always be drawn to and loved the Wheatear (Oenanthe, oenanthe) right from my first viewing of it in the small pocket Observers book on Birds, and again by finding a special card from within the outer lining of the Brooke Bond Tea package. It's always held special and still does today.
When I lived back down in Haslingden, Lancs I would make my regular trips each year to go up on to the local moorland (Haslingden and Oswaldtwistle Moor) in search of Dotterel trips. It was usually from about mid - late April or even the first week in May. I would regular get the Dotterel stopping over on their way through to Scotland or Scandinavia, in fact the best count I had was back in the mid 80s when I had a trip of 32 birds.
The reason I mention here about the Dotterel is that on more than one particular year, I would get parties of Northern Greenland Wheatear accompanying the Dotterel or arriving at the same time as them, I think it was these particular experiences which actually brought the larger more upright and colourful Wheatear to my attention in the first place, and gave me my first understanding of the sub-family 'Leucorrhoa". They always came in groups of maybe half a dozen or even as many as teens. You would go up and see them quite close together, but the day after they would have separated with a lot more distance between them whilst they engaged in the spoils of small craneflies which always seem to be available at the time of the Wheatear's arrival. They would hang around for about 3 days at most gorging themselves before continuing on their onward journey.
Back in the 1980s whilst still living down in Haslingden, I witnessed about ten of them on the Haslingden and Oswaldtwistle Moors. I also had a party of about 8 to the East side of the Ogden Reservoir - Musbury Heights corner.
They are a very nosy or inquisitive bird and I have noticed that if I can be patient and afford the time to hang about, then just stand still in the same position and the birds seem to gradually get closer and closer to you as though to sound you out!
Taken from my blog of Monday April 16th 2012 - Dalton Crags (deforested)
A lovely suprise was to see a group of eight confirmed, but could have been more, "Northern Greenland Wheatear" which were half way up on the Dalton (upper/deforested). I was watching them for ages, absolutely beautiful plumages, more erect in stance as usual, and perhaps a little larger.
Thursday May 2nd 2013 (Dalton Crags deforested)