Sunday, 12 March 2017

Little Bunting: Great Barford, Bedfordshire

With the weather forecast not looking good this morning we decided on a relatively short trip to Great Barford in Bedfordshire. The Little Bunting had first been reported on the 31st January, and pretty much every day since. Some reports had said that it was difficult to locate and even more difficult to photograph. But to be honest it was just a matter of waiting for the bird to arrive and drop onto the seed. Photographing the bird proved far more difficult with the constant rain fall and heavy clouds.
Light rain had been falling on route and was still falling as we left the car. As we crossed the road a single Sand Martin was spotted flying around the Arch Bridge opposite The Anchor public house. After checking my records it's my earliest record of Sand Martin, beating the previous one by Twenty one days.
Initially we headed down river, luckily we hadn't gone far before realising we needed to head up river. We followed the path along the edge of the River Great Ouse and eventually found the bridge mentioned in the reports. Some seed had been scattered at the edge of a ploughed field by local Beds birders and soon several birds were dropping down to feed on it. 
The rain had by now turned into a constant heavy drizzle and although plenty of birds were feeding on the seed there was no sign of the Little Bunting. A singing Chiffchaff from a nearby tree gave me another welcome year tick before the target bird was spotted perched at the top of a bordering tree. It dropped down onto the seed and with several Reed Bunting for company allowed a nice comparison between the two species. We watched it come and go several times over the next couple of hours before heading for the car.

Nice opportunity to compare the two species side by side.

Reed Bunting

Arched Bridge

The early fifteen century arched Bridge marks the start of the walk up river.

Feeding Area

The trees on the right are used by the Bunting before dropping down to feed on seed along the corner edge of this ploughed field.

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