Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

If you asked me to choose the quintessential bird of the heath and downland of Purbeck I would have to choose the Stonechat.

All year round you will see it perched on the gorse, or scrub, even the taller heather clumps. This 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!

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