Friday 17 November 2023

Cirl Flock

Although I frequently encounter Exmouth Cirl Buntings these days, this morning's eight on Orcombe Point was unprecedented. A single bird was in scrub along the coast path and a flock of 7 was in the hedge close to the slurry pit. There's a chance they'll winter and, if they do, there's a chance their numbers will increase.
Also this morning, between 0730 and 10am - c5000+ Woodpigeons, 260+ Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, 3 Siskins, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 17+ Blackbirds, 12+ Song Thrushes, c60 Goldfinches, 1+ Bullfinch, 8 Goldcrests, c15/20+ Meadow Pipits, c15/20+ Skylarks, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Stock Doves, 1 Stonechat, c10 Pied Wagtails and 8 Jackdaws.
Off Mudbank - c130 Pintails and nearby, at West Lodge, a Nuthatch and 2 Jays.

Five of the seven Cirl Buntings in this photo.


  1. Cirl Bunting is one of my favourite success stories, and it's great to know that your local population is doing so well. Enjoyed trying to pick the birds out in your flock photo. I can see six! 😄

  2. Ha! Got me staring at it for ages! Good to hear from you. Matt.

  3. Great news on the cirls Matt. The flock I found in September near the golf course seem to have moved on as the field they were so loyal to is no longer a stubble and has now been ploughed and re-sown! Maybe some of these birds have dispersed your way? Hope so!

    1. Hi Chris - yep that thought did occur to me. The area these birds are in has been left nice and overgrown for the time being. Intensive farming methods have a lot to answer for! All the best. Matt.

  4. Shame I didn't take a screen shot of Portland's huge ID boob where they laxed lyrical at length about a yammer they had caught, and about how few of them they had dealt with over the years. Strange I thought. Surely the pic illustrating the piece is of a female Cirl? Later, that entire section of the report has be removed.
    Portland hid it's embarrassment behind silence.

  5. Hi Ric - goes to show everyone is human. I'm well accustomed to getting ids wrong but I think that's part and parcel of being a birder rather than a twitcher. When it comes to Cirls and Yellowhammers I'd say I identify 99% on call before I've even seen them, so rarely have to worry about looking at feather detail. In that respect I probably mix Song Thrush and Cirl up more than Cirl and Yellowhammer! All the very best. Matt.