18 Apr 2021

Reed Bunting on the garden ringing list!

Reed Buntings are pretty rare birds near me. Although we have ponds around us there is no vegetation as its always eaten by cattle or sheep.  They're normally a spring passage bird and although the occasional one may stop a couple of days they're normally 'fly overs'. Unusually we had one stay a couple of days just after Christmas feeding in a field of stubble along with good numbers of Linnets & Chaffinches. I saw it several times in the roadside hedge adjacent to the stubble and was hopeful it would stay until after January the 1st to get it on my 2021 patch year list. No chance.

We've never actually had one in the garden before so imagine my surprise when I caught and ringed a 2nd calendar year female Reed Bunting in the garden yesterday (12th April). It had no fat deposits and a low pectoral muscle score so presumably its not the December bird relocating and must have come from further afield.

I used to ring a lot of Reed Buntings in my early ringing days at Wicken Fen (Cambridgeshire) but rarely these days. They are a scarce spring passage migrant on Hilbre and I think the last one I ringed was there a few years ago.

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