Male birds are 9 times out of 10 more striking than their duller female counterparts and Pine Buntings are no different, with the bright coloured heads of the males a far cry from the drab and often tricky females! Despite getting reasonable views of the Venus Pools female in Shropshire earlier in January, the discovery of a fine male bird frequenting the Dunnington hedgerows a few weeks ago saw us wanting to complete the Pine Bunting set, and with a free Sunday we made the short journey over to Yorkshire in the hopes of connecting.
|The assembled Pine Bunting crowd|
With a bright white central moustacial cheek, grey central crown stripe and rusty brown tones there was certainly no mistaking this particular individual, and it was great to get a good look at it perched still and unobscured, especially as the flock was extremely flighty with birds coming and going on a constant basis. The flock itself consisted of a mix of hundreds of Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings, with a handful of Chaffinches, Bramblings and Tree Sparrows thrown in for good measure – and it was good to see these farmland species were doing well here having suffered large declines elsewhere.
Remaining quite elusive, there are certain areas where the Pine Bunting seems to show fairly reliably after a wait. As of late, it has favoured the right hand hedgerow and oak tree as viewed from the paddock, as well as the ground around the obvious fallen dead tree and surrounding hedgerows a few fields to the right as viewed from the public footpath to the east of the field.
|The Dunnington hedgerow north of the paddock that the Pine Bunting is making its current home|