Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I bring you Cirl Buntings

Amid the chaos of life right now, I crept out of the house early on Saturday morning all wrapped up  to catch these lovely little birds on camera.


I bring you the Cirl Buntings at Broadsands 

A large flock now gather (over 30) and this is I'm sure down to the efforts of Mike Langman who visits regularly to feed them. Mike worked for the RSPB for years, is a bird illustrator, and runs regular courses on photography and bird watching here in Devon.


They are sparrow sized, only found in South Devon and can be seen all year in several spots around the coast here.


They are on the RSPB's red list which means the highest priority for conservation. Open this link to see the RSPBs brilliant information sheet on the Cirl Bunting.


Hey...what are you doing in here?


Counting...one, two....


...and then there were three!


Their rapid decline was due to changes in farming and in 1989 there were only 118 pairs left in the UK.


I follow the West Cornwall Ringing Group Blog as they do some great investigative work with gulls. 

Their 'catching antics' were part of a BBC programme on the 25th Jan (which I missed) called Natures Boldest Thieves which you can pick up on iPlayer here

Really worth a watch, including film of badgers, foxes and squirrels looking for and finding food in urban areas.

Until next time, wishing you all well
SeagullSuzie

26 comments:

  1. Gorgeous captures of this sweet little bird Suzie. Thank you also for all the links. I have a post up right now on part of the day we spent Dartmoor last if you'd like to take a look. Sounds like life is really busy for you right now. Hope it settles down real soon :)

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    1. Thanks Denise, it is just madness here. Photographing these little birds was a welcome break from all the work going on here. So sorry for the delay in replying. I've just had a quick look at your Dartmoor post-what a lot of food....I wouldn't be able to eat all that in a whole day!

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  2. What pretty little birds and wonderful to hear that they have a safe haven in South Devon. Your photos are excellent (unlike my dots in the distance!) You must be delighted to have them on your doorstep.

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    1. They are so lovely, as I was watching a couple of guys turned up in full bird watching gear and huge cameras. They had come all the way from Hertfordshire to see them, so yes I feel very lucky indeed to have them just down the road. Sorry for not replying sooner to your lovely comment.

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  3. Now you are just showing off ;-) However seriously it is great to see these rare and charming little Buntings and you are so lucky to have them on your home 'patch' :-)

    Thanks for all the interesting links too, the works of Mike Langman are wonderful, whilst the ringing blog was very interesting. I too have been looking for colour ringed Gulls at Whitby this winter and it is amazing to find out when & where they were first ringed and where they have been recorded subsequently.

    Hope all is well and kindest regards :-)

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    1. I do feel very lucky, and I'm so glad I went on the bird watching course with Mike in December as I wouldn't have known about them. We get lots of birdwatchers here and they also look out to sea with telescopes, I have no idea how they identify anything in the water!
      Still haven't seen any ringed birds yet, but of course a lot of the time the gulls are in the water so I can't see their legs.

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  4. Hello Suzie,

    What fabulous pictures! We are totally amazed that you have managed to capture these delightful birds at such close quarters. They are so beautiful and the photographs do seem to capture their individual personalities!

    It is so reassuring that there are individuals and groups which work tirelessly to conserve plants, animals and birds which are under threat. And, how heartwarming it is to read this success story.

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    1. Thank you very much Jane and Lance. We support Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust and I'm sure if it wasn't for them the whole of Torbay would have been concreted over by our short sighted council. Even our fishermen in Brixham work hard to protect the seas with their trawler beam wheels (which prevent the sea bed from being damaged by the beam). So sorry for the late reply to your comment. We have a lot going on right now and not all of it good.

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  5. Oh I want some here! Aren't they beautiful. Super captures, you must be thrilled x

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    1. Thank you so much CT, I was disappointed with the camera again as I didn't get the settings right, but all sorted now after a sit down with the manual. They are lovely to watch and Mike goes down to feed them regularly, I'm sure it is all his hard work that has brought so many to us. How late I am in replying...so sorry.

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  6. They are very pretty looking birds. Suzy x

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    1. Many thanks Suzy, they are, and I can't wait until they get into their breeding plumage, I'm sure the yellow will be even stronger.

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  7. It was wonderful to meet the Cirl Bunting. I love the three of them sitting on the branch! It must be such a reward to see the flock growing. Thank you for the iplayer recommendation we shall have to watch it! Hope the work in the house is going well. Sarah x beginning to

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I couldn't quite see against the sky if it was Cirl Buntings, as at first they looked a bit like Blue Tits. I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to catch them all again and maybe some chicks, if I follow them for a whole season. Still plenty of work to do on the house sadly!

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  8. Great images Suzie - such beautiful birds :) It must be wonderful to live in an area where you can see them :) Hope things quieten down for you soon. Take care.

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    1. Many thanks, there are so many birds to watch here and I'm starting to see quite a few in the back garden. I have no idea what's going to come here in the spring but I'm sure it'll be interesting. Sorry for such a delay in replying.

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  9. What gorgeous little birds, how fab to live near to their population stronghold! Brill photos :)

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    1. Thank you Lou Mary, I hope to take many more photos of bird life here this year.

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  10. Oh WOW!! They are wonderful. Not a bird that I have ever heard of, or sadly likely to see by the sounds of it, but it is great that so much work is being done to support them. Your photos are beautiful, especially the one of the three of them together! xx

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    1. Many thanks Amy. I never knew they were here, but always wondered why the car park was full of birders. The three together was a total fluke as it was difficult to see them against the sky and I had to lighten the photo to show them better. Sorry for such a long delay in replying to your kind comment.

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  11. How exciting! Never even heard of them. What sweet little things they are. Broadsands is the place to be....x

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    1. Thanks Em, you have your fair share of beautiful creatures up on Dartmoor though.

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  12. So amazing to see these Suzie.

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    1. Many thanks Roy, how to get plenty more images of them this year.

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  13. There are some lovely photos here. Did you know that cirl buntings have been reintroduced into Cornwall? see this link: http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.aspx?id=385883

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    1. Thanks so much for the link. It's great news for Cornwall and bird watchers further south as well as the Cirl Buntings of course. How lovely that Paignton Zoo were involved too. Sorry for such a late reply to your comment.

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