Friday, 18 November 2011

Runaway bunting

I have the first part of Friday mornings off college and this time I use to go to the patch. This morning I had a flock of twelve Crossbills fly low and loud south west over the Watchpoint. The number of Crossbills I have had there this year is getting ridiculous. I've had three sets in the last week or so; you simply do not get this number of Crossbills passing through this part of Surrey at this time of year so I can only conclude that there must be a flock somewhere in the vicinity that is the source of these sightings. Perhaps they involve the same birds as those at Wallington, where they have also been recorded on multiple occasions in the last week - Wallington is not far at all from Canons, especially for a Crossbill.

Towards the end of my visit I was on the lane, adjacent to the derelict barn, and there were a couple of  knocking about. I heard another bunting call, a very loud and 'heavy' metallic one coming from nearby. A bird popped up briefly and flew behind the barns. There was silence for a while then it started off again and flew over me; a large bunting indeed, bigger and heftier than a Yellowhammer. I watched it fly slowly west, praying that it would decide to drop on top of a tree or hedge, but it did not. Instead, it appeared to shoot down into the nightmare that is currently Quail Field - a large weedy stubble field popular with Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. I had only fifteen minutes or so before I had to make tracks for college so headed over there and waited in vain for it to do the right thing and confirm itself as a Corn Bunting. I decided to let people know that there may well be a Corn Bunt around and Johnny Allan came over to take over the search. He didn't have any luck with the bunting but he noted a Grey Plover heading NE - shite. A first for CFBW...