TeamworkHaving given up at 08-30 with domestic duties calling and the patch looking a little sparse (OK Wigeon on Alex - yawn) I get a call from Nick with a prob. juv. Corn Bunting near visi. mig. I'm stuck in a Family Therapy Meeting - nice. Getting back I manage to get back on patch, Jono had beaten me by an hour but all was remarkably quiet. Couple of hours of heat and quiet. Try later.
Indefatigable Nick inevitably calls at 15-30 to say he has seen the bird again. Back out and a better fix on likely whereabouts but of course no sign. 17-30 Nick has to leave the patch - shock! I sit on a log and rather desperately try to get two attractive young ladies to throw their dog in the bushes. They sort of agree, I know very sad, but I was in need of entertaining (photos on request).
Jono to the rescue. He arrives and we wander, he scores Reed Warbler deep in the brooms. Then he calls to say he has the bird. I trot in that direction. We get diverted, but he duly sends me one side of the bush and completely blinds me to the Buntings exit his side. It had either gone into Centre Copse or switched back to Visi Mig. The bird eventually perches up near Visi Mig at a distance. Not a big Bunting compared to Whinchat and despite the light not happy with ID. I fire off the camera and we get closer, more shots it flushes and a "chup" not a "zit". Jono and I discuss size and call and I try and get my BOCs up. First ones are fuzzy (heat haze obviously) and I don't know how to whizz through on zoom on the Nikon. Anyway high five, on the list, and I'll process the photos later. Meet Nick and Cowboy Birder in Olympic cycling mode, they are going back out. I have leave to do the, err, cooking, and process the shots.
Eventually get on to Lightroom and download. Not a Corn Bunting surely, bill too dainty and pink not yellowish. Need a good black/white balanced belly shot. Ortolan FFS. Tweet out photos for confirmation. It was a real team effort to nail the bird, it was very elusive, shy and distant. Patch first, 30th for London, and not bad for the UK. Of course they mainly fly over at night.
Wanstead Birders do it again - get in.