Some interesting sightings have emerged over recent weeks of some of our colour-ringed Stonechats, both near to their natal area at Dersingham Bog and the furthest sighting yet reported over in Suffolk. We’ve Tweeted about them already but it’s worth fleshing out the details a bit more, not least to acknowledge the Herculean efforts made by the observers to work out the eventual colour-ring combinations!
Richard Drew was kind enough to send details of a male Stonechat he’d seen on Westleton Heath which arrived at the beginning of March. This proved to be the furthest sighting yet of one of our Stonechat offspring from the Bog. To our knowledge, it hadn’t been reported since it fledged. Would love to know the journey it’s taken in between!
This male (yellow/white and grey/metal) was born in 2015 to our most prolific female (grey/orange and grey/metal) in her third brood of that year. At the time of Richard’s sighting, it was paired with a female so it’ll be interesting to see if it goes on to breed at Westleton. Our previous distance ‘record’ was a bird seen in Thetford Forest a few years ago, 40km away from Dersingham Bog.
Reports of another colour-ringed bird then came from Ray Roche, this time from Heacham, just north of the Snettisham Coastal Park area. It must have been a relatively newly arrived bird as that area is watched regularly by several birders. It was also a male which was born in 2016 as a first brood young to a territory occupied by our most prolific male (white/orange and grey/metal).
Trying to read the colour combination proved tricky as pale colours tend to ‘wash out’ in sunlight and can appear white, which is exacerbated sometimes on photographs. But thanks to Ray’s repeated visits, several extra pairs of eyes and photographs, it was eventually deciphered as pale blue/lilac and grey/metal. Again, this bird hasn’t been reported since it fledged last year and is currently paired with an unringed female. There’s also another unringed pair nearby so it’ll be interesting to see if those two pairs stay to breed in that area.
Many thanks to both Richard and Ray for the sightings and Ray for permission to use his photos.
We’ll be writing about the existing territory holders which stayed on site over the winter soon, as well as the new pairs establishing over the winter. We’ve also had some new colour-ringed birds returning to the Bog recently which have not been seen since they fledged so it may well be all change soon in terms of who is where…