Chestnut Stuffing

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Last night a photo appeared on the Nature in Shetland page of a Little Bunting at the Pool of Virkie on Shetland. At the time neither the finder, nor photographer thought it was anything other than Little Bunting. Irish birder Owen Foley thought there was something not quite right though and raised the question of why wasn’t it the second British and third Western Palearctic Chestnut-eared Bunting. On the one photo I had to admire his pluck especially after quite a few others felt it was Little. I could see where Owen was coming from but I wasn’t going to stick my neck out other than to joke Rob Fray might have a good garden tick.

Fast forward to this morning and I’m flogging a dead horse looking for Ring Ouzel in Leicestershire in the few minutes daylight before going to work. God, it was gloomy this morning. I’d had one missed call from Dave Mack, who was waiting on news at York, after info. I tried Rob a few times but as expected he’d been working late and wasn’t answering. Being braver than I and better off, Dave and co headed North on no news.

During our MDT my phone went and it was Rob, knowing the lads were wanting info I decided to answer. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone open a conversation with ‘we had a second for Britain and we fucked up!’Right then I knew they’d seen the bird and as Rob says last night’s Little Bunting had turned into a bone fide Chestnut-eared Bunting. I wouldn’t have minded making that mistake I can tell you, well not once it was seen again.

With the massive fall of Thrushes on the East Coast since Monday and the winds coming from the way East it was pretty certain a big one would turn up and with a Siberian Rubythroat on Fair Isle the far North certainly struck again. News of a Red-footed Falcon on the IOW will certainly raise interest in another Amur Falcon.

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Meanwhile in Norfolk it would be nice if this got reidentified as an Eastern Crowned Warbler… please!

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