Sunday, 17 February 2019


I'm as yet not able to bird - definitely not able to bird as I knew it - since 2 September, in fact my few attempts to do so have been abysmal, and as my last post on 2 January made clear, Birds2blog was closed for refurbishment, and that I would be back soon....hopefully. 

But an early Stonechat has been the cause of Birds2blog being resurrected even sooner than I had hoped for, and with Andrew Cornall on Friday, I found a stunning male Stonechat working along the fenceposts at Cockersands, 'pennies from heaven' it seemed, and I suggested to AC perhaps an early passage for the Stonechat had taken off.

A text from AC this morning has proved the suggestion to be correct, and the records collected today stand at an impressive 11 Stonechat including Friday's Cockersand bird....

Male Knott End
Female Pilling Lane Ends
Pair Cockersand
Five possibly six from the recycling road off Heysham bypass.

This is the earliest spring passage of the Stonechat that I'm aware of, it's certainly a first for me, and on a search through the LDBWS Annual Reports in 10 years found no February records other than wintering Stonechat.

It's worth noting that 2015 proved to be an excellent passage during March, with up to 74 birds reported, including 7 on Middleton foreshore 8 March, and 13 in the Cockersand/Jeremy Lane area 10 March.

Thanks to Bob Bushell for his excellent Stonechat photographed at Old Passway, Bristol.