Monday, 16 March 2009

A collection of Buntings

On Sunday we were discussing the lack of Yellowhammers compared to a few years ago, and quite coincidentally today I came across the largest group I've seen for some time.

I decided to have a look along Reach Road in the hope of finding a early Wheatear, they always seem to favour this area. I could see a small tree near to the road that seemed to have a crop of bright yellow and brown fruit on it. Even more impressive was the collection of jingly calls and wheezes coming from it.
When I got loser it was obvious that there were a large number of birds in this one small tree. Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings and Chaffinches were immediately obvious, but the tree is dense and it was difficult to tell how many birds were there.

I guessed at first that there were at least 10 Yellowhammers and probably about the same number of Corn Buntings.

I then saw that there was at least one male Reed Bunting, above with a Yellowhammer,

and here with a Corn Bunting. Birds were in an out of the tree in ones and twos and then they all left, and to my surprise there were well over a hundred birds that left the tree. Counting the number of each species was difficult but judging by the calls the Corn Buntings out numbered the Yellowhammers, there must have been at least 60 Corn Buntings and 40 Yellowhammers.

A lot of the birds landed on a barbed wire fence, but again they didn't stay long and moved off to another Hawthorn Tree.

The male Yellowhammers are stunningly bright at the moment and stand out when they are in a tree from a long way off, but the Corn Buntings fade into the background and it's only when they fly that it is obvious how many there are.

As well as the Buntings there was a flock of about 20 Stock Doves feeding in the area, only occasionally did they perch up.

Jenny Dunkley of Droveway Gardens sent me this splendid picture of a Little Egret that has visited here garden in the last few day. She says:-
"The bird is notable as it has a lame leg/foot. It visited our pond yesterday again and made off with a large goldfish witnessed by my husband!! It also visited my neighbours pond and caught a frog or fish too!!! "

Moths I ran two moth traps a couple of times in the last week. So far all I've caught are a couple of Common Quakers, four Hebrew Characters and a Chestnut. At least it doesn't take too long to check them.

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