Weekly Topics

European Stonechat

My Saturday Bird this week is the European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola).

Originally considered a member of the Thrush family genetic testing has shown it is a member of the Old World Flycatcher family.

This individual is a male photographed at Hurleston in southern Cheshire, England in late winter. The birds head and back will soon start turning darker as it changes to summer plumage to attract a mate.

Saturday Bird: European Stonechat
Six Word Saturday

Perched On Top of the Hedge

My contribution to Six Word Saturday.

A leftover April Square Tops photo.

A winter plumage male European Stonechat.

On Top of the Hedge


Throwback Thursday

Grey in grey.

This week’s Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England in the 1990s.

This is a juvenile Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) photographed at a reservoir in south Cheshire. The water level was low with mud in front of the hide and there was a thick fog blanketing the area. The Grey Heron spent some time wandering around the mud before hunkering down and looking grumpy.

This is a copy of a Kodachrome slide, it hasn’t been desaturated or converted to monochrome although I did bring out the film grain when editing the shot.

Sitting in the fog.

Photo Challenges

A few Black-headed Gulls

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Prolific.

For several years in the 1990s I was part of a small group surveying and recording an inland Gull roost on a reservoir in Cheshire, England. Numbers peaked in the winter although there was birds there every month.

The majority of the birds were Black-headed Gulls. Typical numbers were between 13,000 and 22,000 Black-headed Gulls in the winter.

The photo shows part of the roost in the process of moving to a different section of the reservoir.

Black-headed Gulls on the move.

Photo Challenges

It’s Too Big

The Daily Post one word prompt is Thwart.

The European Eel is going to thwart the Great Cormorants attempt to swallow it. I’ve witnessed a few of these battles between the species. A big European Eel will always thwart the Great Cormorant even if the bird has managed to swallow two thirds of the eel. The battle can go on for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cormorant versus Eel

Photo Challenges

I’m Warning You

The Daily Post one word prompt is Warning.

Three Eurasian Coot in a dispute over something. Either one was making a move on one of the others or one had strayed into the others territory. Not that it takes much for Eurasian Coot to start fighting at times.

A dispute between Common Coot


What’s in a name?

Most people in Britain call them a Wren, some call them a Jenny Wren. As a bird photographer I captioned the photo below as a Winter Wren when it was taken in the 1990s. The photo was taken in Cheshire, England and at the time the bird was classified as the same species as the Winter Wren found in North America.

However, since researchers started analysing the DNA of species it has been reclassified. In Europe and Asia the bird is now called the Eurasian Wren. The North American Winter Wren has been split into two species, the Winter Wren that can be found in eastern North America and the Pacific Wren found along the Pacific coast of North America. As a result, the North American species also have new scientific names.

So to the photo, a Winter, sorry Eurasian Wren singing to proclaim it’s territory in the spring. Ah, spring, it’s -11°C with a wind chill of -17 in this part of Ontario as I type this.

Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England