Sunday 9 June 2024

Sussex Cirl Bunting


Cirl Bunting is not a common bird in Sussex, the last recorded sighting being in 1996. I had seen them a few years ago on a visit to Devon but a local bird, just a few miles from home, was worth a visit.

The bird had adopted a patch just north of Mile Oak Farm and had been resident there for nearly a week. I did have a look on the Friday, but just missed it and then having waited four hours for it to return, gave up and went home. Sunday morning I was on site before 7am and found the bird almost immediately, calling and displaying around its favoured area.

Whilst it was showing well, pictures were difficult, as it always seemed to have branches in front of it. The shot below being the best I got that morning. I would have spent longer chasing that perfect picture but there was a clay pigeon shoot a little further along the bridleway, with the promise of twenty to thirty cars to pass its favoured bush. So, seen the bird, got a record shot and a cooked breakfast back at home seemed the best option.

Cirl Bunting

Here is another picture, this one from a trip to East Prawle Devon a few years ago.

Cirl Bunting

As a population Cirl Buntings are not very mobile, so whilst they are expanding their territory down in Devon, it is unlikely that we will see a breeding pair in Sussex for a few years yet. However, on the plus side it does mean that this male could spend most of the summer on his patch waiting for a female to turn up. Lets hope he gets lucky!

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