An elusive bunting

I started very early for my drive home today – 0515! But this did mean that I had covered a fair amount of ground by lunch time, even with car charging stops. I almost decided to carry on straight home without any wildlife detour, particularly as it was raining until well south of Newcastle. But in the end I decided on a late afternoon walk at Frampton Marsh RSPB, on the north side of The Wash.

It was almost deserted when I arrived at about 1715, and the visitor centre was closed (which, as you’ll have seen from yesterday’s entry, didn’t bother me at all!). Immediately to one side of the visitor centre building there’s an area where you can see over the first area of water and small islands, and it was great to see, straight away, about 100 black-tailed godwits. There were also plenty of avocets with young, a lot of ruff, and several ringed plover. A little egret very close by caught my attention, and then I heard a call I wasn’t familiar with, and there – very close indeed – was one of the black-winged stilts which have been breeding here and which Brenda and I saw on our last visit.

An adult black-winged stilt
A juvenile avocet, in contrast to a juvenile black-winged stilt below

Having spent some time taking photos I moved on around the reserve, noting two spoonbills along with a few other wader species. I also heard bearded tits, but didn’t see any. Further round where the reed bed meets farmland, I suddenly heard a call I haven’t heard for a while – a corn bunting. I think there were probably at least two birds calling – my Dad used to say the call sounds like a set of keys being jangled together – but I couldn’t see any sign of the actual birds. I spent several minutes trying to see a corn bunting, but the only bird I managed to find in the vegetation was a sedge warbler. Then a “little brown job” flew briefly through my field of vision. I think it was most likely one of the corn buntings, but I can’t say for sure, and so it goes, along with stock dove, as one of two species I’ve heard this year but not yet seen!

Brenda writes: “There was much more traffic in the moth trap today and it’s interesting to see the numbers of shuttle-shaped dart building again, with eight today. I had a buff footman. It looks very like common footman but has yellow along the edge of the fore-wing.”

buff footman

New species for July 27th:
Moths: buff footman

Birds = 212
Moths = 191
Wildflowers = 262