Where’s the “Stonechats” book when you need it?

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It seems to be a great year for Stonechats on the coast this year – there are two a pairs at least close to the office at Ainsdale, and I’ve encountered several pairs elsewhere. but this critter stopped me in my tracks when I was in Slack 170 this morning – strikingly black and white above, with startling huge white wing patches and a big collar.
In some positions it appeared to have a white rump (see last two really bad pics), although in others a buffy one.
In flight it was so black and white it reminded me of the bastard love child of a Pied Fly and a Masked Shrike!
One of the browner resident male Stonechats chased it off over the dunes in the direction of Pontins, but I managed these dodgy “point and press” pics (if only for a scope) as it perched up once or twice.

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Not pale enough for one of those supersexy Caspian jobs (at least I don’t think it is), but a stunning bird nonetheless.
Anyone got the big boy “Stonechats” book to hand so we can play with groovy latin names and use italics?

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6 thoughts on “Where’s the “Stonechats” book when you need it?

  1. No sign of the Stonechat this morning, but Painted Lady butterflies (four in an hour or so) seem to be on the move in the dunes, with Silver Y moth and plenty of Bee Orchids out, Northern Dune Tiger Beetle and Natterjacks.

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  2. Woolston Eyes

    4 adult Black Necked Grebes + 2 juvs
    5 Chiffchaff seen
    2 Whitethroat
    4 Reed Warbler
    2 Blackcap
    120+ Black Tailed Godwit
    Cetti’s Warbler heard only

    Many Chiffchaff’s singing today, seemed to be every other tree or bush had one in. Has there been a late influx or is it normal for them to be still singing in these numbers?

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  3. I too have noticed lots of Chiffchaffs (still?) singing. Obviously been an emergence of White Satin Moths in the dunes; they were everywhere this morning, obviously reproducing, but also lots of evidence of predation too. Sets of disembodied wings all over the place. Seems to be distinct dearth of butterflies generally this year, notwithstanding four Painted Ladies. Or is it just me?

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  4. The messy/ dishevelled flanks with dark streak pretty much eliminate the eastern taxa including Caspian birds so it’s either rubicola or hibernans. I wonder if it is the former but hard to be sure and you are well away from continental influences but you never know.
    Stonechats are also tricker I think at this time as they are most worn and tend to look blacker and whiter than when fresh.

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