Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A Bunting and a Finch!

Reed Bunting. Phil Slade

I noted a record of 35 Reed Buntings (RB) on the LDBWS  website this week and - void of any research - thought it sounded quite exceptional in our area for so many of this species to be seen at one sighting.

In 2009 a January survey recorded just nine RB's in three coastal squares, and outside our area in the same year at three well watched sites on the Fylde only one months peak out of thirty six counts exceeded this number of thirty five at Foulshaw on the Lancashire/Cumbria border.

The Lancashire and North Merseyside breeding population of RB is estimated at 2,000 pairs, a mere 1% of the UK total which had suffered an in excess of 50% decline in the twenty years between 1970's - 1990's but had recovered by 30% between 1994 - 2005, though the RB in Lancashire has shown no conclusive evidence of a recent recovery.

A small portion of a highly migratory population in Scandinavia visit Britain on passage and a first winter bird controlled at Mere Sands Wood in March 1999 had been ringed as a juvenile in Norway almost 800km away indicates that some of our wintering RB's are of Scandinavian origin.

The RB is yet another species that will suffer if the harsh weather - which has returned after an earlier period of sub-zero temperatures  - continues, this and other bird species are facing population crashes unless the freeze relents soon.

And the 'finch'....

Bullfinch. Gary Jones

As with the Reed Bunting the Bullfinch is a fairly common bird, but both are regarded to be declining breeder's in our area, Red List and Amber List respectfully. Thanks to PS/GJ for the photographs, please take a look at their respective websites for some interesting birding/ringing/photography/and - in the case of GJ - mountaineering. 

A pause for thought....

In the early afternoon today I watched a Lapwing from our kitchen window flying NW > SE, something I would  generally ignore as we all do, but this time I took particular note and pondered....why was this 'wader' alone in flight over Bowerham in Lancaster?....why in this direction?....where had it come from?....where was it going?....and why? 


Warren Baker said...

Reed Buntings are scarce here too Pete, saying that I once I had 40+ when a field of millet was left overwinter, so it shows if there's enough food about they will turn up.

Fleetwood Birder said...

Our ringing site on Rawcliffe Moss regularly gets over 35 Pete, but I agree this is unusual. Out of interest we have ringed 123 there this autumn/winter.

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for the figures, always interested in figures. Also I note you joined the 'Followers' list which I appreciate very much Seumus.

Thanks once again for looking in and comments Warren.