The quintessential bird of the heath and downland seen perched on the gorse, or scrub, even the taller heather clumps.
If you asked me to choose the quintessential bird of the heath and downland of Purbeck I would have to choose the stonechat (Saxicola torquatus). All year round you will see them perched on the gorse, on scrub, even the taller heather clumps.
My photo represents the typical view you will get of this lovely little bird, the male resplendent in his smart attire with the black head and white collar, the female similar but without such a dark head.
In spring, the first you may know of their presence is their strange call, like two stones being knocked together, hence its name.
Although widespread in much of Purbeck and southern Dorset where there is gorse and scrub the stonechat is less frequent on other habitats but it can crop up in other places. This species is doing well in Dorset and I, for one, sincerely hope it stays that way. For me, it is the bird of the heath!
This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:
This map shows the nature reserves and 'hot-spots' featured on the Nature of Dorset where this species has been seen. Obviously it will occur in other places too but this is intended to give you a graphical guide as to the species distribution in Dorset. Click any marker to see the name of the site; you can then click again to see more information about that site.
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The Small Print!
This website has been created by, and is the copyright of, Peter Orchard, Wareham, Dorset. The website is run as a hobby and the information is made available free of charge to anyone who finds it useful. No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions in the data and information supplied. Copyright of all photographs on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains with the publisher or the contributor and they should not be used by others for any purpose without permission.
Please note that the data on this website is not the result of scientific research, it is a collection of random observations made by a very amateur enthusiast. The species database covers everything from mammals to fungi and no one can be an expert in all of these taxa and much of the identification is restricted by the quality of reference material available. One person cannot possibly produce the definitive guide to the nature of Dorset and so species lists will be incomplete and there will be reserves not covered but as time goes by so the database will grow and (depending on health and the weather) the content will become more comprehensive as time passes.
I welcome constructive suggestions and comments and I am happy to try and answer questions if I can. The 'contact' function can also be found at the bottom of every page. I will ignore any communication that is not constructive but just negative and destructive (fortunately I do not get many of those!).
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