Seven miles and five hours on Tuesday with good friend Mike who was looking forward to a brilliant day, with a walk up the east side of Clougha, across the summit and back down the west side. Of course primarily for me the object of the day was the Stonechat, which brought about a brilliant yet disastrous day in that not a single bird was found.
Stonechat. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos
At the risk of repeating myself....This was a worrying discovery, that despite six years since the Stonechat population in the former stronghold of our area in the NW of England was reduced by the harsh winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 which may have caused considerable mortality. The Stonechat has never returned to Clougha in anything beyond the odd birds found on occasional visits on here since 2011.
I have drawn this conclusion before, now here I am again, disappointed that the migratory population of our Stonechat and their offspring, have'nt come back to Clougha to maintain and increase the population until the sedentary birds regain the advantage once more, and surely should have done so by at least 2014 three years after the severe weather of 2009-11.
Wherever the Stonechat is in the UK they are now back on territory, most first brood eggs will have been laid, and certainly all will have been by mid-April. But....It's not looking good on Clougha, and I'm not a happy man.
At least we have yet another excellent image of a male Stonechat on Birds2blog. Thanks Ana.... a little gem.