Stonechat Obsession

Stonechat Obsession - male Stonechat
Stonechat Obsession
Hi, my name is Ashley and I’m an addict! I have a Stonechat obsession. I seem to have become addicted to photographing the charming little birds that have taken up residence on my local patch (Manor Farm in case you didn’t already know).
Today, like Monday, I spent a few hours just watching photographing and enjoying the pair as the fed and fought with reed buntings along the rough area between the river Ouse and the farm pits, it seems an area that is good for all manner of small passerines (more on that later).
Anyway on with the blog.

Distinct Lack of Birds

I started today’d patch walk with a jaunt down past the old lock, and I was surprised by the sheer lack of birds in there. 2 calling Chiffchaff, still hanging out before their long travel, or maybe they will over winter? A Green Woodpecker flying around various trees in search of food and a fly over Kingfisher, passing from the canal down to the river were the only real birds of note.
Although I did get my hopes up at one point as I am 90% sure I heard a calling Willow Tit but sadly I could not get “eyes on” so to speak so could not fully eliminate an odd calling Great tit, as the call was coming from within bushes full of a mixed tit flock; mainly Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit.

Stonechat Obsession

Continuing down river it became clear that the strong winds were keeping much down, as the only passing birds were Wood Pigeon and corvids (mainly Carrion Crow and Jackdaw, but the odd Rook and Magpie as well) and in fact there were not many birds moving in the bushes either.
As I arrived at the corner of the camp site a large flock of Long-tailed Tits were moving from the tall trees to my left and alighting in amongst the weeds to the right and it was in with these that I again spotted, first the female and then the male Stonechats and settled in for a while of watching and photographing.
Rather than regale you with the tales of what I saw I’m just going to put up the best of today’s Stonechat photos (sorry there are quite a few, but hopefully you will enjoy them).

Stonechat Photos

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Male Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Same one as above

 

Female Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Female Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Female Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Female Looking more towards me

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Male Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Female and Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
A pair of chats – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Female Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Another Female Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Female Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Female – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Stonechat Male – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Male Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
On Weeds

 

Male Stonechat - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Male Stonechat – Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Now I think all my Stonechat photos here are good photos, but there is a difference between a good photo and a great photo and personally I think this below, final Stonechat shot is a great photo rather than just good, but I guess that is up to others to really decide. It is the colours, background and over all beauty of the photo that does it for me.

 

My best Stonechat photo
My best Stonechat photo

Other Birds

It was notable that the Stonechats themselves were having quite a few quarrels with the local Reed Buntings, but while out numbered they more than made up for this in tenacity!
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Now on Monday I saw my first Redpoll of the year fly over calling  (almost a year to the day since my last) and while photographing a Meadow pipit on the fence wires (and the above stonechats of course) I picked up a second Redpoll this time resting in the weeds. I wouldn’t normally post as poor a picture as the one below but with them being so uncommon I just had to!
Lesser Redpoll
Lesser Redpoll

 

Goldfinch
Goldfinch

 

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Sadly the pits themselves held little bar gulls; 54 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 7 Common Gull, 1 Herring Gull and numerous Black-headed Gull.
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