I’m interrupting my series of posts about my long weekend birding in Portland because today I found a rather special bird, a Lapland bunting, quite a rare bird for Cardiff.
What first caught my eye was a Meadow pipit having a bath in the tiny pond on the Cardiff Bay Barrage and then, while watching and photographing that bird, I became aware that there was another bird very close by on the grass.
I took some photos but, as I’ve never seen a Lapland bunting before, I thought this bird was a very pale Reed bunting. It wasn’t until I got home and looked more closely at my photos that I realised I had something different. After consulting my bird guide, I sent a couple of images to our county bird recorder and he confirmed what I was thinking (and hoping).
As you might guess from its name, this little beauty is more at home in the Arctic than in Britain, though our recent chilly weather may well suit it. According to my RSPB Handbook of British Birds, only ‘about 700 birds are seen in Britain and Ireland most winters’ and it is ‘mostly an autumn and winter visitor, especially to the east coast of England and Scotland’. I guess the strong easterlies of recent days blew this one a little further than usual.
Unfortunately, the birders who went looking for it this evening weren’t able to re-find it but I’ll be up and out bright and early in the morning, hoping to see it again.