Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Worth it for the Lapland Buntings

I went outside my normal St Margaret's area today, the report of some easy to see Lapland Buntings down the road was too strong a lure.
They've been appearing along the Ancient Highway, across Worth marshes on the way to Sandwich and now the observatory is baiting their favoured area with seed. I hadn't been there long when one appeared, typically crouching close to the ground to feed. It is a bulky Bunting with long wings, which give the impression of a short tail.

The chestnut panel in the wing is a very distinctive mark and the stubby pale bill separates it from a Reed Bunting.

At first two birds came to feed, one of them a male, beginning to develop the black chest that will be present during breeding season.
After these two had gone there was a short wait before a third bird appeared. This bird had been ringed by the observatory staff and I understand that on examination it was evident that the bird needs to feed up before it migrates as it has low fat reserves.
This was a good pose showing the developing black breast, the crown stripes and the pale bill. (If you are from the Americas this a a Lapland Longspur).

Near by the supporting cast consisted of several hundred Rooks,
about 20 Corn Buntings in the nearby farmyard
with a pair of Pied Wagtails
and about 15 Chaffinches present in the muddy yard.

1 comment:

Steve of Kingsdown said...

Glad to see the ringed Lapland Bunting has survived its ordeal, and has returned to the original place, feeding on the grain kindly provided by the observatory as consolation.