Saturday, 15 January 2011

Hurst Spit and Cut Bridge, Hampshire - 8th Jan 2011

With sunny skies and a moderate south westerly breeze it seemed like the ideal time to venture down to Hurst Spit and the adjacent stubble fields at Cut Bridge. There have been records of lapland buntings and a snow bunting in the area and so with no other plans for the day, I though I would make the journey from east to west Hampshire. As I arrived I was greeted by a chorus of turnstones chattering away on their high tide roosts; the light was excellent for photography so I couldn't resist taking a shot.

Five Ruddy Turnstones on Rock at Base of Hurst Spit ©T. D. Codlin 

The walk along the spit, to posts 12 to 15, which was where the snow bunting had been reported, was fairly uneventful, although three red breasted mergansers and a handful of dark-bellied brent geese loitered in the sheltered waters east of the spit. A mixed flock of linnets and skylarks, were feeding on the sheltered eastern slope, and as they took flight the lone snow bunting joined them...instant success! Unfortunately, due to a combination of the birds feeding on the shaded eastern slope of the spit and the snow buntings flighty nature, I was unable to get any photos... so I settled down to watch it.

Lapland Bunting, Cut Bridge ©T. D. Codlin 

I arrived back at the car and decided to have a quick coffee before commencing my search for the Lappy's! But as I opened my car door I became aware of movement amongst the stubble....and would you believe the first bird I saw was a Lapland Bunting. There have been records of over 14 birds in the area but I was happy with just one....and then another appeared!! In fact the more I looked at the field the more there appeared to be...six was my final score.

Lapland Bunting, Cut Bridge ©T. D. Codlin

The remains of the crop and supplementary food thrown out by birders has proved to be a welcome gift for these wintering birds. The Lapland Buntings were joined by a host of other species including chaffinch's, and meadow and rock pipits. The lapland buntings and meadow pipits seemed fairly relaxed about the crowd of birders who had now gathered.

Meadow Pipit, Cut Bridge ©T. D. Codlin

Whereas other bird species were lying low, and sheltering amongst the dead vegetation, occasional sitting up the view their surroundings, and giving me the chance to grab a shot, as with this rock pipit.

Rock Pipit, Cut Bridge ©T. D. Codlin

This Reed Bunting was ringed on its right leg, I could read that it was a British Trust for Ornithology's ring, but I just could not see the full number....never mind!

Reed Bunting, Cut Bridge ©T. D. Codlin

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