Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stonechat at last

"He'd better hurry up with that photo or we'll all topple over!"

It had been quite a while since I'd seen a Stonechat but on Saturday the familiar call caught my ear across the beach, where succeeded in photographing Oystercatchers beside a very sloping sea and a quick scan brought the species on to the year list.

I spent a few hours around the east side of Whitby relocating the Velvet Scoter by the coastguards, seeing the reduced Common Scoter flock, admiring a very fancy drake Eider in the inner harbour and a good number of his peers offshore and then moving on to Saltwick where amongst other things like a single Red-throated Diver offshore, there was the afore mentioned Stonechat. I searched for the Chiffchaff unsuccessfully and then having warmed up in the Coop spent a bit more time mooching around the harbour.

Herring Gull (1st winter) on roof of pickup

Carrion Crow, for once obligingly tame.

GB-bG 1st winter in colourful surroundings, Whitby

Having been sent some superb photographs of a Chiffchaff (maybe a tristis) from Starr Carr near Scarborough (thanks Dave) I had a browse of the Birdguides picture archive looking for definitive tristis. Many labelled tristis but few convinced and surprisingly few had been heard to call. I think I'd better dig out the BB article and see what it says. This does seem to be a form that we are still struggling to pin down (so to speak). The call should nail this id but of course this individual failed to call - unlike the Chiffchaff I found beofre New Year at Saltwick, there was no doubt to that id.

Here's a slightly odd Chiffchaff call from Hawsker in the autumn. You'll have to turn the volume up somewhat - bit of a rubbish recording, sorry.


David w Perry said...

I've seen quite a few down below upgang and in the gorse bushes along the Sandsend road and a pair up on Wheeldale moor recently - including 2 pairs. I'm sure when I last lived in Whitby some 15 years ago I cannot recall seeing any.

Alastair said...

Even over the last three years they seem to have become more common. David if you have any other records you'd like to send me for the Whitby area they would be gratefully received.