Friday, 17 February 2012

Reed buntings at Fowlmere

Reed buntings are relatively common at Fowlmere, and I've been seeing them most times I go there to watch birds, but over the past week or so the numbers have been enormously inflated by what we take to be an influx of European birds.  A regular birder there has been counting them as they fly in to roost in the afternoons, and he reports seeing over 1000 birds.  They spend the days feeding on a couple of local farms where the farmers have grown bird-friendly plants over the winter, and then roost in the reed beds at the reserve, flying in in small groups of up to about 20 birds at a time.

I went there on Wednesday afternoon, as soon as I'd heard about them, but didn't know where to stand.  I was also rather late getting there, so only spent 45 minutes counting.  Even so, my total was not bad - counting for a short time, standing in the wrong place, I still saw 65 birds.

Doug, the warden, was featured for about 10 seconds of a 40 second slot about them on Look East.  Apparently he was involved in the feature for about 6 hours to create that 10 seconds-worth of TV!

I stole the picture of male and female from Birds of Britain. The male is the one with the black head.

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