Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stonechats at SLRS

Went round the Moors south of Sawbridgeworth at midday today in search of Steve’s pair of Stonechats. They eventually gave themselves up on the new fence east of the Railway opposite the scrape. I couldn’t see any rings on the legs, however, but I didn’t get that good a view. (A pair were ringed a mile north at Sawbridgeworth Marsh a couple of weeks ago, and there is in all probability a separate pair up round Stortford).

The scrape was frozen, so smaller numbers here. Meanwhile the fields south of the “Chaff dump” field were freshly ploughed and had large flocks of pigeons and finches.
Highlights of the list below:

Cormorant 1 over, Lapwing 2 on the ice, 5 Snipe flushed from the field south of the scrape. Stock Dove 14 with c30 Wood Pidgeons (the Stock Dovers a record for me in a single group I think). Jay 2, GSW 1, Green Woodpecker 1, Meadow Pipit 5, Yellowhammer 2, Chaffinch c100, Goldfinch c30, Blackbird 10, Song Thrush 3, Mistle Thrush 1, Redwing c20, Fieldfare 1, Starling c20.

Do Stonechats always winter in pairs? Round Weymouth I either see none or several, or don’t count the sexes, but here, where there are fewer, it’s always a pair. So are these the adults from a local breeding pair? Or do first winters pair up in autumn? Questions, questions; perhaps the ringing will give us the answers.

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