Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Land Of No Return.

Although mere speculation, it is now generally accepted that warming of the climate will allow the sedentary population of the European Stonechat in the future to increase to such an extent that they become entirely resident in the UK. I have surveyed at least six upland locations this spring/early summer and see no signs of this happening any time soon, and have found no evidence of the migrant population increasing numbers based on my observations....quite the opposite in fact. 

I was up to Newby Moor yesterday morning - another former stronghold of the Stonechat - and back in 1999 the very place I first began to notice sightings were becoming more regular of this species than ever before, and Newby Moor was to become the holder of one of the best winter records - from numerous upland locations I cover - when I found 11 Stonechat there on 12 February 2008, though the Cross Of Greet area beat that record when I found 12 Stonechat there later the same day. Hard to believe I could find 23 Stonechat on the same cold winters day whilst this year I struggled to find just 2 birds from six upland locations visited so far in much better weather conditions this spring than in February 2008. This was my first visit to Newby Moor since 12 May 2011 when I got the same nil result as I did yesterday. The last breeding record I have from here was on 28 May 2009.

I don't usually do birding in halves, today was no exception and I gave the area a good four hours looking over to note at least 18 Meadow Pipit, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Sand Martin, a Linnet, and a Brown Hare. In the Clapham Station area and the River Wenning, a Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Grey Wagtail, and 2 House Martin.

A meeting at 2.00pm had been arranged at Barbondale so off I went. It was established that two pairs of Pied Flycatcher are breeding here this year, though sightings were only one male and a female, something of a disappointment compared to the excellent records of 2012 here.

Tawny Owl Richard Pegler

Also of note at Barbondale, 5 Redstart, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 WheatearSpotted FlycatcherNuthatch, and a Tawny Owl calling.

Thanks Richard for the Linnet and the Tawny Owl which is particularly brilliant with a 'clik on the pik' ....Excellent.   


Warren Baker said...

Not looking very good for Stonechat Pete, keep up the observations though, just in case an upturn does occur :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

It was predicted years ago that one of the few places on the planet that might actually get cooler and wetter as the rest of the world warmed was the outer areas of NW Europe ie us :-( might not be so good for Stonechats but time will tell...keep tromping those fells Pete



Pete Woodruff said...

Warren/DavyMan....Thanks for looking in, commenting, and for the encouragement to 'keep on tromping'.

And by the way DavyMan, I never heard of the prediction about areas of outer NW Europe getting cooler and wetter.