Monday, 18 January 2010

Stonechats On Ice ......Conclusion

This is a follow up to the  two previous posts about the stonechats and their remakable strategy for survival during the recent spell of severe wintry weather. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and to record on camera what may be unique behaviour by stonechats.
This behaviour and the images I obtained have produced considerable interest from friends and colleagues who are very knowledgeable in the fields of bird behaviour and identification of freshwater invertebrates.First and foremost I would like to thank Pete Woodruff, a very keen local birdwatcher, whose passion for keeping records of sightings and observations has in Pete's words   "become a strict religion ". Pete's favourite bird is the stonechat and he has recently spent a lot of time researching the feeding behaviour of the stonechat and is currently ensuring that my observations and images don't go unnoticed at both local and national level.... PETE THANK YOU.
Mention must also be made of Tony Riden,Countryside Officer with the Arnside and Silverdale AONB ,who identified what the stonechats were catching from the hole in the ice. This was also confirmed by Jonathan Latimer, a local Wildlife Artist and Illustrator, whose magnificent work can be seen at  Jonathan has on his website a painting of the freshwater invertebrate being caught by the stonechats ( Notonecta glauca ) . Thanks to you both.
In summary therefore it has been established that the stonechats were catching and feeding on a freshwater invertebrate commonly known as a common backswimmer, a type of water boatman. This may prove to be unique behaviour and I feel priveledged to have witnessed and recorded the event. I have added a few more images from the day and hope that you will enjoy looking at them as much as I did taking them.


  1. Beautiful set of pictures of the Stonechast. I have enjoyed looking at these pictures and learning something new about the Stonechat's behaviour.

  2. Really beautiful pictures ! What a great series once more.

  3. Brian, superb images again.
    This could be an amazing discovery by yourself, and I hope you get the deserved recognition for it.
    Just incredible to see this behaviour.

  4. I love this series - the stonies look so good on the ice

    happy birding,