Monday, 30 April 2012

Ortolan Bunting

Dungeness  - 0745hrs - warm, dry, sunny, se3 - Just as I settled into position in the hide for a spot of seawatching news came through of an Ortolan Bunting found near the Light Railway Cafe - needless to say the hide was rapidly vacated! Initial views of the bunting were poor but it soon flew over towards Lloyd's where it hunkered down to feed on the edge of the gorse scrub, showing well until at least 0915hrs. The yellowish eye-ring was most noticeable along with a yellow throat and moustache, greenish-grey head, orangey underparts and pinkish bill. I`m assuming it was an adult male due to the bright plumage. A stunning little bird and quite a rarity these days in spring; and personally a Dunge tick. Managed a few poor digi-scope pics, but there should be some frame-fillers on the Plodding Birder blog and DBO website to drool over (sorry about that, poor choice of word really, considering the Ortolan is a culinary delicacy on the continent).
A cracking male Common Redstart was also noted nearby plus 2 Yellow Wagtails overhead, Stonechats, Wheatears and Black Redstarts, and a Whinchat later on (PB). A few Swifts and hirundines came in off the sea and both Sparrowhawk and Peregrine were seen.

                                         Ortolan Bunting, Dungeness

1430hrs - An hours seawatching from the point failed to deliver any skuas but several groups of waders moved up-Channel at close range totalling some 40 Barwits, 25 Grey Plovers, 6 Whimbrels and a Curlew. Also, a steady movement of Common and Sandwich Terns, one or two distant Gannets and scoters, a Fulmar and 2 Med Gulls. At least 20 Poms were recorded throughout the day, including a group of 5 just before I arrived this morning and another of 14 around midday.

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