Friday, 27 March 2015

Day 144 - Stupendous Stonechats

A misty Dunstanburgh - very atmospheric
Hi all today's Day 144 and I had an amazing walk down by the coast over by Dunstanburgh Castle near Craster. I saw so much wildlife there and the views were absolutely incredible. It was a bit misty there but it sort of added a bit of atmosphere to it and I think it made it look like what I think a setting for a Medieval horror film would look like - spooky!

The walk was quite long but we passed it by hopping along the rocks by the side of the sea where we saw lots of lichens and a couple of water birds and explored lots of rock pools. It was an wonderful walk. Along the walk, though, we saw a bird that we couldn't think what it was. We thought it to be some sort of warbler, but it was in actual fact a Stonechat which was great as we have only ever seen Stonechats very briefly from very far away.

Fields of lichens
So I did my research and here are some facts:

  • They are Green Status bird but for the last couple of assessments they have been an Amber Status bird.
  • In breeding season, there are 56,000 pairs of Stonechats in the UK and they usually breed successfully.
A very accommodating Stonechat 
  • They tend to be resident around all of Ireland but not so much in central areas
  • In mainland UK they tend to be resident in the West in the summer visiting the East coast in the Winter, lucky for me :-)
  • They are quite a small bird, just 12cm long with a wingspan of 20cm and weighing in at just 15g
  • They eat mainly invertebrates but will take berries too
  • They are found in all habitats but they are most common near the coast (which is where I saw one) but they are also common in Grassy Heath-lands.
  • Among all 112,000 Stonechats in the UK, there are only 133 nest records! I haven't been able to find a reason for this but if anyone could tell me I would be very grateful.
Anyway, here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. I completely agree, the setting does like it would be the perfect place for a Medieval Castle! Stonechats are such lovely birds, I've never seen one in the wild before, but your photos are lovely Zach - I love that orange/russet colour on their chests. - Tasha

    1. Thanks Tasha, great bird was great to see it and it sat very patiently whilst I photographed it. Loved the walk and all the lichens were amazing :-)