Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Forests, Chats....

Snowdrops. Warren Baker

....and some Snowdrops seen yesterday in Kent. Although not opened in this photograph they've beaten any up here in't north as far as I'm aware. Thanks for these Warren a lovely sign that spring is just around the corner.

There are some opinions that the 'fuss' over the government sell off of our forests etc has no substance, but I reckon we should take it all very serious and sign the petition and maybe get involved with protests until this disbelief by some is proved. If you haven't already done so, please take a look at this which brings the whole thing much closer to home Save The Lakeland Forests. 

I was looking through my end of the year notes today and thought I'd transfer a summary of the ones on the Stonechat onto Birds2blog....

Stonechat. Colin Bushell

It doesn't really seem all that long ago that I could find the Stonechat at every location I visited during the year including the winter months, but thats all come to an end now, with two successive harsh winter periods the Stonechat population has taken a battering and I'd suggest causing considerable mortality, in particular with the recent one we just experienced.

Within the UK a majority remain to winter, residing on or near to their breeding territory or making longer movements within the UK. A smaller number migrate to S.Europe and the coastal countries of N.Africa. During milder winters - which we have experienced over something like the 12 years since I took on a keen interest in this smart little 'chat' - the population which stays to winter here has the advantage over the migratory part of the population in that it can commence breeding at an earlier date and make multiple breeding attempts.

Prior to these two harsh consecutive winter periods I would have agreed the speculation that the generally accepted global warming of the climate would allow the sedentary population of the species to increase to such a degree that in the future the European Stonechat would have become entirely resident within the UK. From my experience of observations over a period of more than twelve years at many locations in the North of England, the status of the Stonechat has now been set back to pre 1999 when the bird was something of a scarcity, the possibilities of it becoming entirely resident are as far away as ever now and certainly as far away as the years between 1986-1998 when the breeding population in Bowland reached the dizzy heights of 2 pairs from none between these 12 years.  

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....hopefully on Thursday when I hope to convince myself that the Stonechat really doesn't exist in January at three upland locations I'd like to check out, the greater hope of course is that I'm completely wrong about that.  


Warren Baker said...

Only had two Stonechat records here last year Pete, but one was of a pair that stayed for a day :-)

Glad you enjoyed the Snowdrops :-)

Richard Shilling said...

Believe it or not I saw some Snowdrops in a sheltered spot, near to the University, on 10th January! I keep a diary of what I see and when (flowers in spring, first leaves of certain trees and first autumn colour) as part of my artistic studies of differences between seasons. I was quite taken aback especially after the cold snap. Nature is full of surprises.


Pete Woodruff said...

Ahhhh....leaves on trees Richard.

I learned something new the other day about leaves on Beech trees in winter and was intrigued, watch this blog! Nice to hear from you again Rich.

Always good to hear from you too Warren and thanks for the Stonechat records.