Last night, the exciting news of a potential Stejneger's Stonechat found by Peter Alfrey filtered its way to me (thanks Josh Jones for the initial shout).
Although the forecast for this morning was far from ideal, I arrived at the car park at first light with full hope of a sighting. I'd meant to have brought along with me a few pots to store any faecal matter for DNA analysis - currently the BBRC only accepts records of Stejneger's where DNA has been retrieved - therefore, I knew it could be a long and wet day.
Around 9.30am, accompanied by Richard Fairbank, I spotted the Siberian mega on a semi-distant hedge and we enjoyed prolonged views as it fed in a flycatcher manner. It's dark peachy rump was immediately obvious, as was the white throat, pale wing panel and generally paler peachy underparts. Although Peter had obtained some images the previous evening, I was keen to get some better shots and soon approached the bird within maybe 15-20 metres and managed to get some respectable shots. I quickly retreated and watched the bird from a distance in the field to the SW of the main car park, where it stayed for the majority of the day.
With rain persisting, we went back to the cars to dry out, which became a theme of the day to be honest, and by the end, my camera, bins and scope were all hopeless in their function! Anyway, after an eight hour vigil, Lee Evans and Ian Wells saw the bird drop one. I quickly got directed to the spot, found the faecal matter, and placed it in a pot that Jake had lent me. Job done... I drove home and the sample shall be posted tomorrow bound for Aberdeen University where hopefully it won't be a Goldfinch!
|potential Stejneger's Stonechat |
at Medmerry RSPB
|The most important poop I've owned|