Friday, 18 May 2012

Reed-bed Birds

With Spring well and truly underway, now is the best time for seeing or hearing many of the bird species around the university. Two species currently singing from the small Reedbed by the Mountjoy buildings are the appropriately named Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler. Several pairs of Reed Bunting, an uncommon local breeding species, have territories around the Mountjoy fields - some nesting in the scattered patches of bramble and willowherb. The unmanaged rough grassland here is a vital habitat for these breeding pairs.

Male Reed Butning. Mountjoy Reedbed

The male Reed Bunting (above) is easily identified by its black head and white moustache. One can often be heard singing its simple repeated song from the top of reeds in the reedbed. The song has been likened to a child learnng to count, but continually forgetting where it has got to and having to start again ('one ... one, two, ... one, two three, ... one, two ...').

Female Reed Bunting/ Mountjoy Reedbed

The female Reed Bunting (above) is more cryptic, and well camouflaged, looking like a well-marked sparrow, and it usually requires sharp eyes to spot her moving through the lower level vegetation.

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