A day of incessant rain and drizzle with full cloud cover giving very poor lighting conditions. It remains very mild at 10 degrees Celsius.
A late afternoon walk close to STANTA (Stanford Training Area) at Bodney saw the vast landscape shrouded in grey, miserable to some, but to me just another mood of the Breckland beauty.
My walk appeared bird-less initially, however, as I walked along what may appear featureless roadside verges, I detected movement amongst some taller weeds and I thought Stonechat, inspection through my binoculars revealed a male Stonechat clinging to the weed. A female or 1st winter bird was seen a short while later close to the male.
The male Stonechat flew into a Hawthorn where he remained for a while offering good views despite the appalling light. I was fortunately close to the Stonechat and made the following notes:
A small Chat with an all-dark head and chin clearly demarcated along the neck-line. The dark head contrasts strongly with the white neck patch and brown upperparts. The breast and underparts appeared a peachy colour. The upperparts and upper-tail were brown, the mantle was streaked. The greater coverts and tertials were pale brown fringed. The primaries were pale fringed and at distance gave the appearance of a pale wing-bar. In flight, both birds showed a white patch on the inner wing 'braces'. The tail was constantly flicked.
As is typical with Chat species, the Stonechats always remained close to the ground but often perching on a taller weed stem.
Stonechats are mostly short distance migrants and it is highly likely that these birds originate from a territory within STANTA.
I have provided this small account of the Stonechat encounter just to show that despite the dismal conditions, very poor light, and what may appear to be a life-less day, that there is always something to find and observe as with my beautiful Stonechats.