A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

PINEY! Male Pine Bunting at Dunnington, Yorkshire!

Male birds are 9 times out of 10 more striking than their duller female counterparts and Pine Buntings are no different, with the bright coloured heads of the males a far cry from the drab and often tricky females! Despite getting reasonable views of the Venus Pools female in Shropshire earlier in January, the discovery of a fine male bird frequenting the Dunnington hedgerows a few weeks ago saw us wanting to complete the Pine Bunting set, and with a free Sunday we made the short journey over to Yorkshire in the hopes of connecting.
Pine Bunting - Dunnington, Yorkshire
Notoriously tricky birds to successfully twitch as of late (the Kent bird has also been proving to be elusive) several people had left unfulfilled having dipped the Dunnington bird after hours of waiting, some even having missed out even when the bird had shown due to the sightings being all too brief.
Dunnington Pine Bunting crowd
The assembled Pine Bunting crowd
Joining the crowd expecting a lengthy wait and with hundreds of Yellowhammers constantly flitting in and out of the hedge to search through, we were surprised when after just over half an hour eagle eyed Alex expertly picked out our male Pine Bunting, having watched the tiny bird fly in from afar. Perched in the silver birch trees in the hedge before flying closer into the large oak tree on the right hand side of the hedge north of the paddock, the strikingly marked bunting remained on view for only a couple of minutes at max, just long enough to really study the distinctive facial features and fire off a few record phonescoped shots, before dropping down in to the hedge and out of sight.
Pine Bunting - Dunnington, Yorkshire
Pine Bunting - Dunnington, Yorkshire
True to its elusive nature, it didn’t make a reappearance while we stayed on site and it wasn’t until late in the afternoon that it came on view again – lucky I got up early otherwise we would have had a very cold and unfruitful day!

With a bright white central moustacial cheek, grey central crown stripe and rusty brown tones there was certainly no mistaking this particular individual, and it was great to get a good look at it perched still and unobscured, especially as the flock was extremely flighty with birds coming and going on a constant basis. The flock itself consisted of a mix of hundreds of Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings, with a handful of Chaffinches, Bramblings and Tree Sparrows thrown in for good measure – and it was good to see these farmland species were doing well here having suffered large declines elsewhere.

After this autumn’s phenomenal influx of Pine Buntings, it was only a matter of time before further wintering birds were unearthed hiding amongst our British Yellowhammer flocks, and this is a species that anyone has a chance of finding while searching through their local wintering flocks. Indeed, with birds turning up on a weekly basis on the European continent, there is a high possibility that more of these charming little buntings will come to light in the next couple of months.

Remaining quite elusive, there are certain areas where the Pine Bunting seems to show fairly reliably after a wait. As of late, it has favoured the right hand hedgerow and oak tree as viewed from the paddock, as well as the ground around the obvious fallen dead tree and surrounding hedgerows a few fields to the right as viewed from the public footpath to the east of the field.
Dunnington Pine Bunting hedge
The Dunnington hedgerow north of the paddock that the Pine Bunting is making its current home

1 comment:

  1. Nice birding story :D
    Visit my blog freeasbird.blogspot.com if you pleased

    Regards from Indonesia


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