Spring Birding in UK – British Birding


Having recently spent 2 weeks in China, then just 1 day back in Thailand, I find myself back in UK with the opportunity to walk out of the front door and see a whole load of breeding farmland birds within seconds. Spring is in full flow with lots of birds singing and even a few common species feeding fledged young and a short walk this morning provided me with some nice sightings and I managed to get a few passable photos of my main target – Corn Bunting. Every time I am back in Britain I always try to catch up with Corn Buntings as there is a small population of this declining species near my mother’s house which hangs on and it was my degree dissertation species. Today I found 5 calling males and 2 females within a very short walk and watched them calling from various song posts and chasing females back towards the nest.

Corn-bunting11Male Corn Bunting

Getting close to Corn Buntings is not easy. These are birds of wide open areas and as such they can see approaching potential threats from far away as they are perched atop their prominent song posts. By creeping along using whatever vegetation was available I managed to get reasonably close to a few birds, but I was never able to get close enough to get really good photos, although I did notice that it was easier to get close to birds calling from the tops of small trees than those calling from lower vegetation.

Corn-bunting12Calling male Corn Bunting

There were other interesting birds around too which made for a pleasant short morning walk. In a paddock used for horses there were two Yellow Wagtails, presumably on migration I have seen this species only a few times at this site and a pair of Mistle Thrushes were also nice. An interesting sighting was a Peregrine Falcon sitting on a bare field. This would have been unthinkable when I began birding in this area as a kid but, of course, this bird is now fairly common.

Large numbers of singing Eurasian Skylark were also easy to see, I probably saw around 30-40 birds in only an hour and a half, and also a few Barn Swallows, a couple of calling Chaffinches, 3 Goldfinches, 4 Common Whitethroats singing their jumbled song, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and a flyover Ring-necked Parakeet. Add to that 5 Herring Gulls, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull and the normal collection of Starlings, Wood Pigeons, Carrion Crows and a couple of Jackdaws and it was a pleasant morning of birding for someone who does not live in Britain and does not see many of these birds that often. I now have the luxury of being able to spend plenty of time over the next few months enjoying wildlife within short walks of home.

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