Having now done surveys of five former Stonechat strongholds in the LDBWS recording area in the past seven days including today's zero result, I now find the status of the species reversed by more than 10 years. From a personal point of view this is a great disappointment if only for the fact it would be pointless in putting any further effort into these areas for the rest of the year in pursuit of a bird no longer present, though I still have a few more locations to check....I'll labour my depressive state no further!
So there I was, having arrived on Rigg Lane this morning just in time for this grim heavy and damp mist - as viewed through the windscreen - which threatened me to abandon the idea of going up Clougha today, but wait....it's clearing, so off I went with determination to look primarily for Stonechats which to be honest as it turned out five hours later, I'd have had as good a chance of finding them in Sainsbury's car park.
By the time I got three quarters of the way up Clougha....
This had descended upon me and I was surrounded by it for a good hour until I was on the decent. OK so now you're thinking....well wait a minute, how does this fella reach the conclusion there's no Stonechats in conditions like this....trust me I know what I'm doing and I know what I'm talking about.
I heard the trusted song of at least 18 Willow Warblers, probably the most vocal bird on the planet, 3 Wheatears, saw 4 Buzzards which soared together, only 5 Red Grouse seen today, a solitary Raven, 10 Meadow Pipits a poor show for five hours, and noted singles of Robin and Wren. As I walked back along Rigg Lane to the motor 2 White Wagtails seen....an amazing 500 at Hoylake, Wirral on Saturday 9 April.
And by the way....
No more Morecambe 'bashing' if you don't mind please, quite a bit of effort has gone into making the place a little more presentable over the past few years and I reckon the promenade is as good as any other promenade in the country, it even has a little beach now and lots of people were taking advantage of some nice spring like weather there last Sunday as you can see in my pic above....Long Live Morecambe!