Thursday, 3 December 2015

Photographic Advent Calendar, Day 2: Stonechats

Well, here is the second instalment of my photographic advent calendar series, being posted rather belatedly after another busy day! Today I have chosen to focus on another charismatic and smart avian species: the humble Stonechat. Saxicola torquatus (translating roughly to saxum-colere= 'to dwell near a rock' and torquis= 'a collar'), is a common sight across much of the UK, with the country holding roughly 60,000 pairs. Here in Cornwall i have been seeing a scattered few individuals in the scrubland and farmland around the coast, and many individuals have proven to be rather tame. The british Stonechats that decide to remain in situ all year around (and as opposed to flying down to warmer climes in Europe & Africa), tend to be quite susceptible to bouts of cold weather. Since they feed primarily on small invertebrates, prolonged cold periods can really have an effect on their populations. Back on Bardsey, the population dropped to around five/six pairs after the 2010 winter, from about an average of 10. Hopefully the climate will remain favourable for these smart little birds this winter...they can brighten up any dull, rainy day!

I shall endeavour to post something tomorrow, for day three of my advent photographic series...

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