Stonechat In Bowland 3 Jan 2015. Howard Stockdale.
During the course of 2014 I collected 113 Stonechat records, very few of which were duplicated, many of which were kindly sent in to me via e-mail by followers of Birds2blog, and other records from birders I know and see round and about, who are aware of my interest in this species and are kind enough to recognise my appreciation of keeping me informed.
The bulk of these records were of wintering or migrant birds, only six were from obvious breeding territories, though one from the Forest Of Bowland contained 36 territories none of which I assure you were from the locations I monitored for in excess of 14 years on Clougha/BirkBank/Harrisend/Hawthornthwaite, where the Stonechat has yet to return since its demise during the severe winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11. A visit to Clougha/BirkBank on 20 June on what should have been the height of the breeding season produced not a single Stonechat. I did find a pair on the west side of Hawthornthwaite on 12 March and again on 17 June though no evidence of breeding, but a pair on the east side of this fell were found with 5 young on 11 July, Harrisend produced a pair on 17 June with no young seen. At Cross of Greet I was pleased to find 9 Stonechat on 6 June, these were seen as 3 male and 6 juvenile. At Hareden a pair with a young bird seen on 21 May, and 3 adult included a pair with 3 young at Langden. These five breeding records are the only ones collected by me in 2014.
Prior to the winter of 2009 I would never have dreamed 5 years on, that I would be saying I had found only five breeding records in 2014 about the then more abundant Stonechat. It remains to be seen what the 2014 LDBWS Annual Report has to say about the status of breeding Stonechat in our recording area....unfortunately mine say little.
The most unexpected Stonechat record I ever collected was of the juvenile I found at Cockersands on 3 July. Where this bird had come from, and what it was doing at Cockersands apparently alone as a juvenile and in mid-summer is beyond me.
The Stonechat In 2015.
Stonechat On the Wirral 3 Jan 2015 Wilde About Birds
Howard Stockdale and Findlay Wilde have got me off to an excellent start to 2015, with a wintering pair found by Howard above Trough Bridge in Bowland on 3 January, and another wintering pair found by Findlay at Leasowe on the Wirral also on 3 January....Thanks for these records and the accompanying images, a big up to you both, looking forward to seeing the next Stonechat records of 2015, and hopefully doing lots of non-stop birding.
Thanks to Noushka for the excellent header image of the Buzzards in dispute over perching rights.