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Buntings (11/17)

Here it is then, the final installment of the species profiles for Clayhanger and Ryders Mere.

I would remind everyone that this is only 'The Gospel according to Chaz' and that I hope to get some more feedback about things that may have occurred and gone unrecorded at any time. It doesn't matter if they are species that are included in the profiles or something completely new (my e-mail is on the profile if you want to get in touch).

I will be updating the entries to include any new information and will leave the marsh reports for at least a month, so I hope you keep logging on and having a look. Thanks to all those who have already given me feedback, your comments have been incorporated into the text. - Chaz

 Yellowhammer - Emberiza citrinella

This was once a species I would have guaranteed anyone seeing at either site but in recent years it has declined drastically and although resident, is now only regularly apparent in the spring and summer. Yellowhammer are most likely to be seen on the adjacent farmland and it is here that the wintering birds are most easily found often in mixed flocks with Greenfinch and Linnet.

Reed Bunting - Emberiza schoeniclus

Still hanging on at Clayhanger and Ryders Mere and still a breeding bird at the former site despite a notional decline that has seen it notified as a nationally threatened species. This is another of those birds that was once boringly common and which we are now genuinely pleased to get a glimpse of at any time.

Corn Bunting - Milaria calandra

Right up until the late 1980s this was an incredibly common bird on any of the local farmland and I recall flocks of twenty, thirty or maybe even fifty birds wintering on Clayhanger Marsh.The decline of the Corn Bunting is well recorded and was probably the catalyst that made the birdwatching fraternity look at the status of farm birds in general. Needless to say, this is now a stunningly rare bird at either site with only three records involving 7 birds between 1995 and 1999 and no more records until an amazing flock of 15 - 30 birds on 27/11/2010 feeding amongst the stubble with a range of other species.