The Cockersand Stonechats.

15/12/2019 0 By wildfeed
An e-mail from AC on Wednesday, told me of a male Stonechat in the rough field between Lower Bank House and the CP. I was unable to get there until Friday, but found the bird on my second call there. I had thought a third bird now at Cockersand – maybe a second pair – but I failed to find the ‘lighthouse’ pair despite a thorough search.

I was off the road during the winter of 2018, but there was some corresponding Stonechat dates in 2017 at Cockersand around the present date. On 11 Dec, I found a male at Crook Cottage, this was the same date as a male found this year by AC at the Caravan Park. The male at Crook Cottage in 2017 was still around the area on 18 Dec, on the same day AC found another male at the Caravan Park, and I found a pair there four days later on 22 Dec….Eyes down, look in!

Plover Scar on Friday at high tide, c.150 Oystercatcher, 55 Dunlin, and 25 Turnstone. At least 270 Curlew in fields here again, with no more than 120 Golden Plover. A lone Grey Plover was with 6 Turnstone on the shingle. I saw 22 Greenfinch and a Dunnock, around Bank Houses, 2 Kestrel were seen hovering 1/4 mile apart. The Fieldfare appear to have finally moved on from the area, with just one seen in flight on Slack Lane, a lone Redwing on Jeremy Lane was also in flight. 
A brief look in on Conder Pool, saw 4 Snipe, 25 Mallard, 7 Black-headed Gull, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Gurney’s Pitta….A gripping but tragic story of one of earth’s rarest bird species.

Gurney’s Pitta is evaluated as Critically Endangered as the current very rapid estimated rate decline in population is projected to increase further over the following 13 years, due to the lack of legal protection of the remaining small areas of flat lowland forest suitable for the species. There is a high risk of rapid conversion of virtually all remaining habitat to plantations, which could plausibly take place over just a few years.

Gurney’s Pitta. Copyright HBW.
For over 30 years, the Gurney’s Pitta was thought to be extinct, until 1986, when it was spotted in Thailand in five separate locations. But soon after, their numbers fell flat, and with a mere 9 pairs it was deemed to be one of earth’s rarest species. 
Hope was renewed yet again in 2003, when thousands of breeding pairs were discovered in Myanmar. But unfortunately, the roller-coaster saga continues still, the habitat of the Gurney’s Pitta is now in danger of imminent destruction, and the bird is now Critically Endangered.