Wednesday 25 October 2017

Cirl Buntings

Male Cirl Bunting. With winter wheat (I think) growing in two of the three top fields, and grass in the third, it's highly unlikely this pair will hang around, although the male did engage in a bit of singing for a short while. Originally the farmer had said that he'd plant a crop for the birds this autumn but that plan appears to have fallen through.
Two Cirl Buntings in the top fields were the highlights - my fourth and fifth in Exmouth this year, following 2 short-stayers in the spring and an August singleton. It was nice birding in calm, still conditions this morning but most overhead stuff was a bit too high up. From 0740 - 0950 I logged c50+ Meadow Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 25+ Chaffinch, 5 Reed Bunting, c40+ Goldfinch, 12+ Greenfinch, 15+ Siskin, c20+ Linnet, 110+ Jackdaw, c200+ Woodpigeon, c15+ Skylark, 2 Brambling, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2+ Redpoll, 1 Mistle Thrush, 7 Starling and 1+ Bullfinch. A small arrival of thrushes, in bushes around the point, included at least 10 Song Thrush and a similar number of Blackbird. Otherwise just 3 Stonechat, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Coal Tit, a flock of 19 Long-tailed Tit and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker made it into the notebook.
A Firecrest was in the Maer long-stay carpark late afternoon.
Male and female Cirl Bunting - really hard to pick out on the deck.
Initial views of this first-winter female Stonechat got me going a bit. It had quite a distinct super, a nice bright white throat and really bright wing panels formed by bright edges to the secondaries and tertials. It was also a touch paler-looking than most autumn Stonechats that I see. Mindful that Stejneger's Stonechat can be a bit more similar to torquatus/rubicola I endeavoured to see the rump which turned out to be darker and more streaked than I was hoping for! Side-on it looked less impressive.
Not the plain rump/uppertail coverts that I was hoping for but note the really bright wing panels.

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