Sunday, 29 September 2013

Stonechats In 2013.

A summary of Stonechat in 2013.

A bit early for writing up a review about the Stonechat in 2013 with three months still to go, but an excellent record of fourteen birds at one location recently posted HERE has prompted me to do so, though I would suggest the majority of these are passage birdsI'm personally obliged to Gary Sharples for getting in touch with me and for posting this record.

Many other birders/photographers have forwarded Stonechat records to me throughout this year for which I'm very grateful. I'm also grateful to Howard Stockdale for the excellent image of the young Stonechat below....What I would have given for a few more Stonechat in 2013, let alone young ones. 

Stonechat. Howard Stockdale. 

But the reality is, the Stonechat has shown little sign of its return to the uplands of the north of England according to my observations, though I have had news of young being seen at seven locations - not all in our recording area - Whitbarrow, Foulshaw, Bleasdale, Croasdale, Bradford Fell, Hareden and Whitendale, but these sightings of young have been in low number compared to the records pre two harsh winters.

I've visited several upland locations during this year and found only one with proof of breeding, that of a female with three young at White Greet on 5 July, evidence in my records that the Stonechat is still absent from every site I've been surveying for over 15 years, and that the Stonechat has been absent in 2013 at Birk Bank, Hawthornthwaite, Harrisend, Barbondale and Newby Moor, but a pair was seen on Clougha on 2 May and 7 August, this pair were seen at exactly the same area on both occasions in 2013 as indeed they had been in 2012, and I found no young on any of these visits.  

However, I have to say that documentation of Stonechat in Bowland forwarded to me earlier in the year appears to contradict my claim that the species 'hasn't generally returned to our uplands to breed' when it reads....'with pairs found in all the main valleys and side valleys appearing to do well and fledglings being noted in May'....void of any figures I have no idea what the true definition of 'appearing to do well' means in this case, but no doubt about it, this is in stark contrast to my findings.

Stonechat Ana Minguez 

I'm hoping all this will change for the better in 2014, and that the fortunes and status of breeding Stonechat will begin to improve once again. Brilliant portrait of a brilliant bird....Thank You Ana.


Adam said...

cute bird

Pete Marsh said...

Are you absolutely certain, when you started surveying, Pete that the areas you looked at were prime first choice habitat/areas. If not, the discrepancy between your findings and the source you quote may be due to the birds re-colonising what they consider to be prime sites. Hopefully the populations will then again reach a level where they recolonise your survey areas. I urge you to investigate this as it may account for the discrepancy. In this respect, do you have data on the spread of Stonechats in Bowland after the previous low ebb e.g. which sites were recolonised first. This might be very helpful, especially if the habitats have not changed a great deal, facilitating comparison.

Warren Baker said...

Nice photo's indeed from Anna. Lets hope the Stonechat makes a full recovery in your area Pete, maybe then,(selfishly) I might get one on passage!

Mark said...

I kept a close eye on the Scout Scar Stonechats this year.
A pair of juveniles in August and a pair earlier on in the year.
Do adults produce more than one brood in a year.
I got the impression there was only one pair of adults all Summer.
This follows last year when there were definitely 2 pairs both of which produced young.
In 20 visits to Helsington Barrows and Scout Scar between 1st August and 20th September amongst many other birds seen,52 Spotted Flycatcher,42 Redstart and most surpringly of all a grounded Yellow Wagtail on Scout Scar.

Pete Woodruff said...

Adam....Thanks again for your continued interest in Birds2blog

Warren....Thanks for comments on Ana's images and your hopes for the Stonechat, keep on looking for them in Kent, I'm watching your reports closely.

Pete/Mark....I've responded to your feedback in my latest post. Thanks for your interest and comments.