Saturday, 12 December 2009

Bunting Swarm

The flood waters have developed all week, but were disappointingly devoid of wildfowl this morning, just 15 Lapwing and a few hundred Black-headed Gulls with the usual Mallard and Canada Geese:

Some substantial pellets have been regurgitated here, full of fur and small bones:

The floods at Chiselhampton, great for gulls, but I've never seen anything else here:

Only when heading home through the set aside field did things get interesting - suddenly I was engulfed in swarms of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers! The hedgrows were stuffed full of birds, with Reed Buntings bursting out with my every step. Counting such mobile birds in such numbers was tricky, let alone getting any pictures, but a conservative estimate would be at least 100 Reed Buntings, 100 Yellowhammers and 30 Linnets. In short, numbers the like of which I have never seen in Cuddesdon before!

Above and below, Bunting swarm

Above, every part of the hedgerow was filled with Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings. Getting close to the bird was not a problem for my next subject. On returning home I notice the corpse of a Great Tit below the bird feeders - always a worry in case of infection. I go out to take some great, carefully controlled shots - I mean, to dispose of the body in a dignified manner:

And as I am doing so I hear a deep "Cronk, cronk" call from above. Looking up I watch, literally opened mouthed, as 2 Ravens fly fast, low and huge over the garden, heading east! Another new species, not just for the garden and the area, but my first in Oxfordshire! This takes the garden list to a nice round 60 species, with 88 in the Cuddesdon area: 100 species now seems a real possibility, not merely the work of a deranged mind. Probably.

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