Ward’s Stone is the highest peak in the Forest of Bowland, the trig point stands at 560m. An interesting fact about Ward’s Stone, is that another 50m would make it a mountain to join the only other two in Lancashire, Green Hill at 628m, and Cragareth at 627m.
Last Wednesday saw the report of a male Stonechat on Ward’s Stone on 6 January.
But checking the grid reference given in the report, I found the sighting of the Stonechat had been at around 420m which gives the record to be on Tarnbrook Fell and not quite the high altitude record as at first thought. However, I have noted this to be the highest altitude of a wintering Stonechat recorded to date in England this winter….ever in my little black book.
I never went any higher than 400m during my years of observations of the Stonechat on Clougha Pike where I found Stonechat breeding at that altitude, but never recorded a wintering bird.
Of note, the highest altitude record for breeding Stonechat in the UK stands at 590m in Cumbria in 1996….(J.Callion) Stonechats. A Guide to the Genus Saxicola. Christopher Helm 2002.
I was sorry to hear Peter Cook had died on 5 January.
Unknown to me at the time, his love for the Stonechat started at an early age, he had developed an interest in birds at the age of 12. Peter was watching Stonechats, and found some nesting on Heysham Barrows, but went on to write in an article for the LDBWS Annual Report, that he was disappointed they were no longer a regular breeding bird in coastal areas in the area, including Heysham.
Peter took on the role of Secretary for the LDBWS in 2012, where he remained until his death. The Society and birders will miss his presence, and I would like to add my personal sadness at the news of Peter Cook’s passing.
From the B+W File.