Sunday, 29 January 2017

Over Norton :: 28 January 2017

Started the day with breakfast and the Big Garden Birdwatch. An enjoyable hour but with nothing to enthuse over (blackbird - 4, blue tit - 1, carrion crow - 1, chaffinch - 2, dunnock - 2, goldfinch - 4, house sparrow - 3, magpie - 2, robin - 2, starling - 7, and woodpigeon - 4). No sign of the long-tailed tit flock that had been frequenting the garden at breakfast over the previous few days nor the collared doves. Later in the afternoon a wren decided to show and preen, long enough to force me to get my camera but not long enough for me to take a photo.

Having read that a little bunting had been found locally in Over Norton I planned to drop the car somewhere near the A3400 roundabout and follow the path towards Over Norton. Better I thought than dropping the car in a village with other birders possibly doing the same; little did I know that the path where the little bunting was showing was actually the public right of way and that you therefore viewed from one end or the other.

As I arrived I talked with a birder on his way out. Carrying a camera sporting a very large lens he told me that he'd been there for two hours and not seen the bird, and also that he wasn't aware anyone had seen it since the previous morning. Met the nice chap from Slough again, with his repaired camera body - he was disappointed with his cattle egret photos using his other older camera body and had hoped to get something. He hadn't seen the bunting either and was beginning to think of moving on too.

Two hours passed with reed bunting, yellowhammer, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, blackbird and brambling enjoying the seed scattered on the path but no sighting of the little bunting. At one point one of the number thought he had it in view but on review it was just a reed bunting. News from the other side on the copse (Over Norton) suggested that they had seen it briefly earlier and a few people braved the comments to walk down the footpath and change ends with no luck. Overhead we had red kite, buzzard, raven while in the field we also had pied wagtail and lots of fieldfare. In the end I decided it was time for lunch and headed home out of the cold. Could it be that the sighting earlier had been incorrect and another eager birder incorrectly identifying a reed bunting?

This morning, on the Oxon Birding site, I note that the distinguished Mike Pollard is credited with the sighting report- no doubt there then. I dipped and the bird changed its behaviour showing little on the day I chose to visit, and only at one end.

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