10 April 2013

Meet the Locals #5

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A male Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

All pictures taken in south Hokkaido over the last 3 or 4 summers.

This is a very common summer visitor to this part of the world. They generally arrive in mid to late April and the last ones leave for the winter in mid October. It is widespread across temperate Asia and winters in SE Asia and also NE Africa. It is closely related to the European Stonechat.

There are several subspecies, not surprising in such a wide ranging bird. The one we get in Hokkaido is (I think) S. m. stejnegeri.

Of course I saw Stonechats back in the UK but never in the numbers I see them here. They are abundant in open habitats in summer and are commonly seen roadside.

Siberian Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat

The male is a very attractive looking bird, much more so than the European I think.

Their mournful short song is one of the sounds of summer in the grasslands and padis.

Around the time the young are born they become exceedingly tame.

Siberian Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat

The females appear to be very similar to the European...................

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Siberian Stonechat

Near my flat they appear in mid April as they migrate up the river, in early September they make the reverse trip in much larger numbers, the majority being immature birds. A small piece of waste ground just upstream from my place has held a singing male the last 2 or 3 summers. Outside of town they are everywhere.....................it seems that every 50 meters or so you can see singing males perched on roadside wires or bushes.

Linked to WBW.
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13 comments:

  1. Great photos of beautiful birds.

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  2. What gorgeous photos Stuart!! The male Siberian Stonechat is a beauty.

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  3. A Siberian Stonechat....it's gorgeous. And such wonderful photos.

    BAD 'Hair' DAY

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  4. I'm sure this is the first I've seen of these beautiful birds; thanks for sharing; lovely photographs

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  5. Lovely captures and I especially like the last one with him staring straight at you!

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  6. We get quite a few European Stonechats on the dunes and grassland along the coast near our house. Always a pleasure to watch, and great for impressing non-birders with your ID skills because most people haven't heard of them and their behaviour gives them away from a mile off. :)

    Impressed that you got so close - ours are quite nervous.

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  7. Certainly is a smart bird - the females look a lot paler than ours. The males are strikingly black and white, especially with the orange restricted to the breast. I can see the white rump on one.
    Saw one over 20 years ago at St. Abbs head - it looked more like a Whinchat to me!

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  8. What a pretty little bird. In the tail-up pose it looks a little like our wrens, in the others, more like our robins. It also looks to be a similar size. Very nice captures indeed.

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  9. Thanks for all the comments.........

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  10. Very nice bird - although not sure its better than the European one, just different.

    My picture is only a small section of the four flocks of the stilts - I have no real idea how many where there.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne.

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  11. Sucha cute bird! Great serie, but the last one is very special with its pose and look ;-)

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