Stonechat, Portishead


Year bird 108, two of them actually, not quarter of a mile fae the hoose in the bit of the residential development earmarked for a nature reserve. This means somewhere for dog-owners to let their pooches have a crap and generally run wild. Will this change when (if?) Avon Wildlife Trust takes over managing the site? I can find no Web reference to such a move, save that the reserve is officially called Ashlands.

Ashlands, it is from now on then.

Back to the stonechats, or rather their close cousin, the whinchat. Early results from the BTO’s Bird Atlas suggest that the species is struggling big-time. This is hardly news: so many birds are going tits up, but not tits themselves. In this case it seems that the stonechat is a good baseline from which to judge matters. It shares much behaviour with whinchat, but not migration, which is a common attribute for declining species.

Is the problem climate? Habitat loss along the route? Mediterranean bastards shooting and liming them? Who can say? Who cares? Or rather, do enough people care?

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