Friday, 16 November 2012

Snow Bunting, Seaford, 16 Nov 2012

my best attempt to document this bird. sorry about the fairly shaky quality but, well,
that's what you get with handheld footage on a bridge camera! 

Now, I know you want some words, of course you do! So against all sensible reason and discourse, I will ignore the urge to spend my friday evening sleeping like I should do, and endeavour to write some, for our lovely readers! 

November's been a bit quiet for birding, especially round school. I got in early today to have a check of the railway land, but all I had to show for my efforts were a few Redwing and Siskin among the regulars (and even these are becoming regular enough now, though I still keep note of them). There were also a small movement of Black-headed Gulls following the Ouse north, probably heading from their roost off Newhaven to feed further north up the valley. While doing some filming for a Media project, I noted a probable calling Firecrest, two Mistle Thrush flew over College and there were quite a few Coal Tits around the trees outside Cliffe House (one of the buildings that comprises Sussex Downs College). I also got a text from Dad, saying something like "Snow Bunting Seaford Beach east of the Buckle!". 

I was home by about 3, and twenty minutes later we were down at the beach. There, was, how to put this, an even larger urge shown by the general populace to bring Black Labradors down to this particular space on the beach today! I try not to get too frustrated by dog-owners, being one myself, but when a slightly senile old dear insists on throwing an old milk carton for her ungainly Lab right where the Snow Bunting was last seen, one does have to swallow quite a few expletives that are fighting to escape one's breath!

Thnakfully, the old hag, and the rest of her dogging contingent (I'm sorry for being so rude, but I need to let out this passive-agressive frustration somehow!), politely effed off eventually, and it didn't take too long to see our target. My words will struggle to describe the sheer, contented adorability of a SNOW BUNTING
but they will have to suffice. The dinkiest of yellow beaks was plucking what little seeds could be found on this stretch of the beach, while the overall colour is chameleon-like in it's ability to mimic the colour of the surrounding pebbles! The chestnuty breast-band and ear coverts, darker brown mantle and reddish fringed greater coverts all play a part in giving a very finely tuned camouflage. The white flash on the median coverts does make picking it out a little bit easier, and though, like many Snow Bunting, it was reluctant to fly, it was quite happy to briefly scuttle accross the shingle, in a similar fashion to a Ringed Plover, another bird very well able to camouflage itself in this habitat. The Bunting also has an adorably cute little black eye that endears me to it a lot.

This bird was also incredibly confiding, showing down to a few feet, so if you're in the area it is well worth checking it out! it typically favours the stretch of beach to the east of the Buckle Caravan Park, and if there are no dog about seems very approachable!

I'll leave you with one final photo- just look at him, for pete's sake!!! :)
 SB: "I'm so adorable"
 LC: "yes, yes you are!"

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