Sunday, 22 June 2014

Surprise Corn Bunting

Woke up this morning and had a hard time deciding what to do. There did not seem to be much point in going to Amwell, and it was a toss up between driving around Therfield and searching for Quail or walking round Aston End and along the river. I chose the latter.
The walk through the plantation and up to Aston End was pretty quiet, as most of the birds are not that conspicuous now. Lots of butterflies though, mainly Small Tortoiseshells and a few Speckled Woods.
Heading down to the ford, Skylarks were singing, as were Yellowhammers along with a what I thought was a rather faint jingle-I assumed I had misheard one of the yellowhammers. As I got closer however, I realised that there were two birds on the wires and one was a Corn Bunting! Back in the 80's there were still one or two birds in the area during the summer, but they died out and the last wintering birds were seen in the early 90's, so it was a bit of a surprise to see one here again.
The walk north was rather warm, and this brought out more butterflies. Yet more Small Tortoiseshells, Meadow Browns and my first Ringlets. No blues which was a bit unusual, though single Small Whites and Brimstones were seen, and three Marbled Whites.
A search of the paddocks failed to produce the Little Owls yet again, but a bit further on one flew out from a small Willow leading me to suspect that it was nesting in a different tree. Not long after this nice bonus, a fine adult Hobby flew over.

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