Monday 9 November 2020

Stonechat at Happisburgh confirmed as Siberian Stonechat (Stejneger's)

You may recall from earlier blog posts that Nick and I found an interesting Stonechat in early October at Cart Gap that looked a strong candidate for 'Stejnegeri' (see  A day to remember and  Follow-up Chat).

Fair play to Richard Moores who refound the bird the following Monday and obtained a faecal sample. This has now been analysed and the results have confirmed the bird as Siberian Stonechat (Stejneger's), the 2nd confirmed record for Norfolk.

There's some excellent shots of the bird on Birding World by Steve Gantlett plus a large selection of shots of 'Siberian' Stonechats seen in Norfolk and other localities in the UK. Given that the Salthouse bird and now this one have both been identified as 'Stejnegeri' then this may start to provide birders with enough information to reliably identify one in the field without needing genetic analysis. 

I saw the Salthouse bird in 2018 which was confirmed, through genetic analysis, to be 'Stejnegeri'. This was the first confirmed record for Norfolk. I forgot I had a photo of it until I trawled through my files.

Siberian 'Stejnegers' Stonechat - Salthouse, Norfolk - November 2018

I also saw the very dapper Siberian Stonechat at Caister on Sea in 2015, however this was never assigned to either form maura or stejnegeri.

Siberian Stonechat, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk - November 2015

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