April 23, 2018
Stonechats can be seen in Orkney for most of the year. They are of similar size to a robin, very inquisitive, bold and eager to attract attention with their highly audible call, similar to two stones being tapped together – hence the name stonechat.
Males have striking black heads, with white around the side of the neck, orange-red breasts and a mottled brown back. Female colouring is more subdued and lacks the black head and white collar. Juveniles appear from April onwards and are very similar in colouring to the adult females. Stonechats are generally easy to spot as they have a very upright perch and can be seen on the tops of bushes and gorse, even hopping along fence posts at the side of roads. It’s amusing to watch their antics, as they are constantly active, flicking their wings and eagerly darting about.
Population & Distribution
The stonechat is a common breeding resident throughout the UK and Ireland, and as many as 30,000 pairs breed in Scotland. However, numbers can reduce significantly after cold winters. From October onwards, many Scottish stonechats leave their summer territories and head to warmer coastal areas in the south and some even journey to the Mediterranean.
Where to Find us
Stonechats can be found in lower vegetated habitats, farmland, moorland, marshes and indeed any open country habitat with suitable scrub. In Orkney, many can be found on Hoy, in the West Mainland, Rousay and Eday, and after mild winters, further breeding will occur in suitable habitats around Orkney.
Stonechats are insectivores and feed mainly on insects, moths, caterpillars, worms, spiders and snails. Plant food includes seeds and fruits such as blackberries.
Stonechats will breed on heaths, moors and grassland and will build their nests in dense gorse or shrubs. The female uses grass and moss to build a cup shape nest which is then lined with hair, wool and feathers. Five to six eggs are usually laid, with the female incubating the eggs for around 14 days. The chicks will stay in the nest for around 12-13 days and are fed by both parents. Stonechats will typically rear two to three broods in a season (April-August).
Our Stonechat Collection
Our exquisite Stonechat collection features a bright and lively design. See the full range of quality British made china and homeware products at https://bit.ly/2vEnlAj.
Stonechat Barrel Mug
Stonechat Teacup & Saucer
Stonechat Sugar Pot
Stonechat Oven Mitt
July 17, 2018
February 09, 2018
October 05, 2017
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