If only all birds were like the Stonechat!

Stonechat juvenile

I’m not a wildlife expert, far from it, but I do love wildlife and nature in all its forms, whether it be flora or fauna, bugs or bees or birds or bats, or anything else. It is always awesome to be around nature, even in my small garden. One of the things I love to do is to go for walks with my camera and long lens and to photograph birds in their habitat.

Now this is generally far from easy because birds, and in fact most creatures, are suspicious and often secretive, and for good reason because it is that that keeps them alive. Take for instance the amazingly diminutive wren with that equally amazingly powerful voice. You hear them all the time, but trying to see them is another matter altogether because they spend most of their lives skulking in the undergrowth.

The same can be said of the Dartford Warbler, the jewel in Dorset’s wildlife crown. This beautiful bird was once threatened with extinction but now, thanks to Dorset’s heathland, it has revived and has become much more common. However, try to photograph them and you will find that mostly they hang out in the middle of gorse bushes, not a comfortable place for us humans!

Dartford Warbler in its usual habitat deep in a gorse bush

Take the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a lovely smaller version of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Whilst he doesn’t skulk, he soars! You might hear the drumming, but this will mostly be coming from the very top of the tallest tree so unless you happen to have wings, or a VERY long lens, your chances of capturing it are probably low.

Male Stonechat – probably young

The same can’t be said of the Stonechat though as they love to sit at the very top of any average height foliage to get the best possible view they can. Even a thin and frail twig will do, or a slither of rape that bends under their weight.

Male Stonechat in a rape field

The Stonechat is no skulker, he (and she) likes to be seen. No surprise then to find that it is related to that prince of posers, the Robin. Maybe the Robin just likes people, or more likely, associates people, i.e. gardeners, with food in the shape of dug up worms šŸ™‚ ! And maybe that is true of Stonechats too. In actual fact, its probably more about showing off to other birds and getting noticed šŸ™‚ !

Juvenile Stonechat

Actually, although it makes it hard for photographers like me, I’m glad that most wildlife skulks and is hidden. The invisibility of nature adds to the intrigue, the mystery, and leads to the sheer beauty of discovery. If it were all openly on show, we would never experience that rush of adrenaline that comes from discovering something we have never seen before. Whenever I go out, I enjoy that feeling that I never know what is around the next corner or in the next bush, and that adds an exciting dimension to walks in the country. That knowledge also keeps me alert and focussed on what is around me rather than just ‘zoning out’ and going on autopilot, which is so easy to do without even realising it!

High above the vegetation

Having said that, I wish just once in a while that all wildlife would become more like the Stonechat…..especially when I am passing with my camera šŸ™‚ ! Mind you, it probably wouldn’t make any difference because all creatures have that innate sixth sense so that they know when you are around, and they know the EXACT moment you are about to press the shutter release on your camera! How many times have I got a lovely picture of an empty branch or leaf…….’Just a bit closer, just a bit more, just a fraction nearer, right, press the shutter…..click…..ah, too late, it’s gone!’

Stay safe, stay active, stay wild, and thanks for stopping by to read my ramblings.

Here’s to the wonderful Stonechat!

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com ā€“ comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

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