The influx of Stonechats this weekend was noticeable today with several noisily moving along the cliff top and around the scrub behind Hope Point. As I peddled along on my way down to the point (yes peddled, trying to get fitter and bird in a greener way, at least locally) I heard a call I don't normally associate with St Margaret's, Unfortunately I took me a while to pick up the bird as if flew away from me over the Freedown. It was a medium sized wader and the call immediately made me think Spotted Redshank. I listened to tapes when I got in and this re-affirmed my belief that that was what I heard. There were small groups of Goldfinches going over, moving North as well as some Siskins. I also had a group of about five Redpolls.
When I got to the same bushes that held the Dartford Warbler yesterday Steve Ashton was there and said both the Firecrest and the Dartford Warbler were still around, but that the warbler had move up the hill to the nest group of bushes.
Very soon after I located it two of the Stonechats came along and the Dartford Warbler immediately reacted to their presence and then they were off, bush hopping their way down to Hope Point.
It must be something that happens to birds in this area, but like the Wryneck this Dartford Warber had a loose downy feather on its back.
The group moved their way to the scrubby area beyond the point and they continued in the same formation most of the time.
The stonechat sat on top and the Warbler foraged in the bush underneath it. This relationship happens frequently in breeding areas and also with other species pairs such as Desert Warbler and Desert Wheatear and Barred Warbler and Red-backed Shrike. It is often said that the warbler uses the chat or shrike as a lookout while the warbler disturbs prey that its partner utilises. I don't know it this is true but I have seen all three of these associations in their breeding sites.
There seemed have been an influx of thrushes today with a lot more Blackbirds and Song Thrushes in evidence. There was a male Blackcap waiting its turn to drink while I was watching this Song Thrush, but it didn't come down while I was there.