Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Stonechats 2008.

I just e-mailed my Stonechat records for 2008 to JW and reckon a few words about them might interest one or two visitors to the Birds2blog.

I can't wait to see the comprehensive  RSPB Stonechat records for Bowland, as far as my records for 2008 are concerned from just two of my most favourite areas for this species, the breeding season for this year is best described as a disaster and there will be nobody needing  an  explanation  as to  why  if  they  remember  all the  unused  sun  blocker  in  the bathroom cabinet.

I wasn't even able to get to the Clougha/Birk Bank location in the entire month of August simply because, on what days I was available to do so the weather was unbelievably appalling. In March and May I succeeded in identifying 10 birds as 5 pairs but as the season progressed and indeed came to an end, the only breeding evidence I gathered was of a single young bird, and a pair with 4 young - which in the circumstances was a resounding success - both records in the month of July. The year ended on a down note when a rare event occurred here and I found not a solitary Stonechat in December.

As always these record are achieved through in excess of 50 hours observations on Clougha and Birk Bank, and whilst our summer months produce anything like the weather 2007/8 threw at us the upturn of the status of the Stonechat will remain on hold and in any case in my opinion has probably peaked already and much sooner than I had hoped for if it turns out I'm correct on this one.

This picture does at least have a connection to all this as I took it a while back one November evening from Birk Bank.


Richard Shilling said...

I'm not an expert nor am I a local (only lived in Lancashire since 2005) but I think "forest" is a term used for royal hunting grounds (perhaps medieval) and doesn't actually relate to trees. Where I am from, Kent, there is a place called Ashdown Forest and that was a hunting area for Henry VIII. I imagine the Forest of Bowland is the same and relates to the whole area where hunting took place. The Trough on the other hand I would guess would relate to the particular section where Langden Brook and the Wyre runs through which seems to me to be quite unique. That's my theory anyway.

Went out for a stroll this evening after work in the sunshine. It is really quite heartwarming to hear the birds singing strongly, to see some wrens performing mating behaviour (I assume - looked fruity anyway!), to see lambs in the fields and buds on the trees. Really looking forward to spring now, more light to open up the evenings and all the joy that new growth and new life brings.


Pete Woodruff said...

I think you are right here Richard. The 'Trough' being an obvious part of the area described as The Trough of Bowland. As for the 'Forest' again I think you are quite correct in claiming it to be the medieval term for hunting grounds. Yes, I'm happy with that and thank you.

As for the birds in song. Well spring is just around the corner and I heard a Blackbird in full song in Dalton Square in the dark as long ago as 2 December.Excellent stuff.