Monday, 23 November 2009

Good Evening, Mr Reed Bunting

I see now that you were not alone when I filmed you back in Spring! Whilst making a start on a video inventory of suitable video footage to include in my blog (two boxes of mini tapes awaits!!) I’ve discovered something I didn’t realise I had captured until yesterday. I’m guessing many visitors here will know what it was.

Before sharing that piece I’d like to share another. Two weeks ago, just before dusk, I took a couple of trips to the town side of Loch Leven. I was hoping to catch the pink footed geese, who are staying there over the winter, as they came into roost. Alas I wasn’t lucky enough to film them. I did hear them in the distance though.


However, as I stood waiting patiently, the evening sky and swans caught my attention. There was one very large group of swans (not a sound out of them) in the distance.

A few of these Mute swans had serenely floated towards me… my camera turned towards them.

It was like watching the ballerina in a music box… without sound but you could still feel the music. It was an unexpected moment and one of many I have enjoyed in the time I have been 'watching' both in and out of the garden since I began this blog.

It was getting almost too dark to make them out however I could see them rocking their bodies from side to side before dipping their heads in the water to feed. Based on watching the Blue tits nesting in my nestbox that has a camera in it I’d take a guess that they were moving stones below to dislodge any food.




What about Mr Reed Bunting? Well, yesterday morning I decided to return to the other side of Loch Leven to see if he was still around the area I’d first seen him. It was a lovely morning when we arrived. We walked down from the car park to the water’s edge where a number of birds could be seen on the water. I could see swans and coots.





Heading along the straight strip of the River Leven we passed three swans preening. I have 'heard' swans here before. They may be mute but the noise of their flapping wings is quite distinctive… almost eerie. They use this strip almost like an airport runway.

As we walked along the path we could quickly see that recent rains had brought up the level of the water considerably higher than usual. It was along the far side edge that I saw the Reed Bunting back one Spring evening earlier in the year. Nope… no birds were spotted along the water’s edge yesterday….just a Heron standing on the banking above looking on.

Watching for birds in the same places you’ve seen them before is a good guide to seeing them again. I have seen Herons in exactly the same place as the one we saw yesterday and was watching out for it there. I tried to take photos but with foliage on both sides of the river it was tricky. When I moved to a more open spot with my camera the Heron just strolled quite elegantly further up the banking and out of view.

It was the strolling along the water’s edge of a small brown bird last spring that caught my eye then. I had seen Chaffinches along that strip of water, Pied wagtails too. Initially I hadn’t realised that I was seeing a bird I had never seen before until I noticed the black and white at the head.

My first guess at ID, I was delighted to find, was accurate! Clearly photos on other blogs have helped me here. Confirmation came when I referred to books at home where I read about the reed beds, wet pastures and marsh habitat of this bird. I am always thrilled now to discover new birds I have never seen before. I am even more thrilled that I now see them when before I would have most likely missed them completely!

The video below of the male Reed Bunting below isn’t the sharpest as I attempted to follow its progress along the edge of the water although I was thrilled to capture it. However if you look closely you’ll see it eating.

If you listen carefully you’ll hear a few other birds in the back ground too. I wonder how many you recognise. I thought I could hear Great or Coal tits. However, I was completely surprised to hear another resident in the background. I’ll let you listen for yourself…



What do you think? I’m thinking the drumming noise in the background belongs to a Woodpecker. There you go… if it wasn’t for my video I would never have known Woodpeckers were even there. So now…. next visit, I’ll listen out and look out for the Woodpecker too!




What a wider wildlife world is out there than many of us realise. I am just thrilled that now I am seeing (and hearing) more of it now. I also hope that others reading my postings are enjoying it more too. It is great that through our blogs we can all share in bird/wildife sightings especially with visitors from other parts of the world. I enjoy hearing all about them and wonder what you saw over the weekend :-D


Unless otherwise stated the photos above were taken on November 22nd 2009. The first photo was taken on November 8th 2009.

I would like to request that these photos and my text are not re-posted on any other websites. Many bloggers are having a problem with their postings going ‘walkabout’ and I will be considering this more fully for future postings.

6 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would love to see a Reed Bunting. It is a busy little bird. I don't know the sounds of birds in your area. It sounds like fun to me though.

easygardener said...

I had a Reed Bunting visiting my garden a couple of years ago. It always reminds me of a Sparrow that has had a head transplant :-)

Midmarsh John said...

Two great videos there Shirl. The music with the swans is perfect.
I could hear the Great Tit and possibly a Chaffinch in the second video but have no idea about the tapping but you will no doubt track it down one day.

ShySongbird said...

A thoroughly enjoyable post Shirl, I loved Swan Loch ;) it really did look beautifully serene with the golden light. I was so pleased you drew attention to the 'rocking' which I would never have noticed otherwise. I wonder how many times I have missed this behaviour when I have watched them, I think you are probably spot on with what they were doing and I shall look more carefully next time! It really is amazing how much more there is to see and hear once we really take notice.

My husband's parents owned a canal boat when he was young so most of his holidays were spent on it and he was only saying the other day what a distinctive noise Swans wings make when flying over and one which at the time he rather took for granted.

It was lovely to see the Reed Bunting too, such smart little birds I think. I managed to get a couple of photos earlier this year near a small local reservoir and live in hope of seeing them again there sometime.

I hope you are surviving the weather, it is still pretty wild here :)

The Early Birder said...

Excellent footage of the Reed Bunting. For me they are normally seen perched. Definitely a woodie nearby and possibly the partial descending call of a Willow Warbler? Interesting comment you made about post material being 'pinched' not something I had really considered. FAB.

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa, Denise, John, Jan and Frank :-)

Lisa – I was thrilled to catch a glimpse myself! There’s a wonderful thought… I’d love to hear the bird sounds in your area of the US. Perhaps you might capture it one day and share it on your blog :-D

Denise – Wow… one in your garden! I’m guessing you must be fairly near water. LOL… I really did when I read your description of this bird… quite true too :-D

John – Thank-you, I loved the swan music too although I really should explore ways of getting different music for my videos without breaching copyright. Yep… I thought I heard the great tit too. After seeing/hearing an item on the BBC One Show where a nature presenter tapped a rhythm on a tree trunk with a couple of sticks and a woodpecker responded I thought this might be what I was hearing. Frank below seems to agree with my ID :-D

Jan – Thank-you, glad you enjoyed it :-) Yes, that rocking I found interesting to watch too. Yes I agree, that’s thing about gardenwatching I have found I watch everything much closer than I used to do pre blog. Wonderful, your husband must have enjoyed many bird and wildlife sightings from a canal boat. Glad you enjoyed my glimpse of the reed bunting. I think I remember seeing your photos but never at the time expected to see one. Thanks the weather has been wild here with a little flooding in parts but nothing to speak of when you see what has gone on down in Cumbria. It’s been a lovely sunny, fresh and blue sky morning here, hope it’s the same in Cumbria and with you :-D

Frank – Thank-you, appreciate the ID confirmation too. Ah… a willow warbler too? I have to say I really am a newbie at sound ID’s for birds. Thanks for that one. Ah… the ‘pinched’ postings, as I said I don’t knoe how to deal with that one. I could name and shame but then they’d get publicity… I could give you one example by email. The are using the RSS feeds and at a guess they are being auto generated too!