Friday, 23 January 2015

Winter Wheatears!

I decided it was about time I got myself over to Wallasea Island for a few hours before the end of Winter. The idea was to indulge in some quality raptor action, but this never quite materialised. Despite seeing two wonderful ring-tailed Hen Harriers adjacent to the car park, I failed to see any Short-eared Owls or the Rough-legged Buzzard which has been knocking around for quite a while now.

There were large flocks of Corn Buntings and Linnets in the fields, and Lapwings and Brent Geese constantly streamed overhead but it was the Stonechats which ultimately caught my eye. A volatile little bird which thrives in milder winters but always lives with the possibility that one harsh cold snap could massively deplete their numbers, so it's good to see them doing so well at this time - I counted six birds along one ditch and I know these numbers are replicated in pockets around other sites along the east coast. With their inquisitive nature and tolerant ways, it's no wonder Stonechats are a firm favourite with anyone who owns a camera, which got me thinking - surely they're winters answer to the summer Wheatear?

Wallasea Island, RSPB
Are you looking at me?

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