Thursday, 8 September 2016

I've seen this Bunting...

This now infamous subject heading/hashtag is immortalised in east London birding folklore thanks to a lovely couple we met on Shetland in 2014. We'd bump into them on a daily basis and they would recall a story about a strange Bunting they had seen in their strong Yorkshire accents - which would secretly have us in fits of laughter (this folklore was later added too by a bit of dodgy Little Bunting misidentification in the Sumburgh lighthouse garden). So 2 years later and this phrase was well and truly resurrected again on Wanstead Flats Wednesday evening with confirmation of the patch's first record of Ortolan Bunting.

I sent Nick Croft a tweet in the morning as a reminder that the window for finding a Wryneck on the patch this year was closing (last week of August/1st week in September) and he only goes and trumps this by pulling a bloody Ortolan Bunting out of the bag! Ok the initial ID was not as straight forward as some people may have thought, but given the flighty unsettled nature of the bird and poor views I'm not surprised the first messages went out as a young Corn Bunting.

I only ever saw the bird in flight on a couple of occasions and although I wasn't totally convinced by the the odd flight calls it was giving, I too was also going down the Corn Bunting route until Bob Vaughan only goes and produces conclusive images of the bird nicely perched up on a Hawthorn bush earlier in the day - If it hadn't been for his photos I think we'd all be safely pencilling in Corn Bunting but with a few, what ifs and maybes...Buntings - don't you just love'm!

A great new addition to the patch list and a long overdue piece of patch gold I had been longing for.

Wanstead, London

Wanstead, London, UK
Photos courtesy of Captain Bob Vaughan - the patch's celebrity Jeremy Corbyn lookalike and dog walker fancier! 


  1. A big slap on the back to the Wanstead Massive!

  2. Cheers Steve...certainly this years highpoint, but still time enough to pull out another gem. You gotta love patch birding