There’s a repetitive high-pitched knocking as if someone’s banging two stones together. It must be the aptly named Stonechat. There’s a pair on the heathland at Trendlebere Down.
The male is a handsome bird, with a dark head and orange-flecked breast. The RSPB website says Stonechats are found on “Heaths, conifer plantations or coastal sites, especially in southern and western counties.” I’m on heathland in Devon, so that checks out.
He’s sitting on top of the freshly emerged bracken flicking his wings and tail and calling.
The female Stonechat is more camouflaged. She’s found an invertebrate and isn’t eating it so I assume it’s for a youngster somewhere.
There are only one pair of Stonechats for every 1,000 people in the UK. I’m enjoying every minute of my time with this couple.
The Stonechat’s scientific name is Saxicola rubicola. Saxicola means rock-dweller and rubicola means bramble-dweller. It’s time for me to leave them to their rocks and brambles.