Sunday 12 December 2021

Fun Things

It has been a challenge to get much blog material out of the last couple of weeks' birding. But here goes...

After what was seemingly a good autumn for them I'm hopeful of a Siberian Chiffchaff or two, but efforts so far have drawn a blank. The closest I got was at Kilmington WTW last week. An elusive, pale and interesting bird in Thursday afternoon's drizzly murk failed to show at all the following day.

Gulls have been few, and desperately unremarkable. And that's all I have to say about gulls.

The one exception to this everyday-ness has been the West Bex bunting flock, with which I have spent a few interesting hours. But they're tricky. They come and go a lot, and I've yet to see more than 15-20 birds at any one time, frequently less. Clearly they have a few other feeding spots. I've really struggled to get any photos, but finally managed a handful this afternoon, despite the dull conditions...

Female Cirl Bunting with Yellowhammer

Female Cirl, with olive-grey rump on view

As above, following a quick twirl

At first glance it is hard to believe that the Cirl Bunting on the deck is the same as the one photographed in the hedge, but I think it is. Still, I cannot explain why it looks noticeably more yellow in those last two shots.

Last Friday week (3rd December) I had brief scope views of two females together, and have been hoping for a repeat performance ever since. So far, no deal. That same day - in two hours - I also had single females twice. And ever since, I've only managed single females. These birds ain't easy. In fact it has reached the stage where I'm beginning to ask searching questions about that sighting of two. Unfortunately the male which featured in THIS post has not been seen again.

Spot the Cirl Bunting

It has definitely been worth lugging the scope down there. The variability in Yellowhammer plumage is quite something, and well worth a proper grilling. For example, that bird on the left in the last pic has very little yellow in its plumage, but a scope quickly prevents any putative Pine Bunting-induced hyperventilation - the yellow fringes on the primaries are quite obvious.

All good fun.

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