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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

14 October, 2015

Reed Bunting: an unfulfilled prophecy

My favourite bird identification book was published back in 1978, the year I started 'birding'. It says "Many birds suffer from human activity but a few show sufficient adaptability to profit from change and the reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) is one of these." Back then we regularly had reed buntings in our garden during the winter months and I would frequently see them on farmland around where we were living. Reed buntings then were common! 
How things change; those words from my book I quoted seem far from true now. The reed bunting has declined substantially in recent years and is is now nationally and locally scarce, usually seen only in its established habitat of Phragmytes reed beds. It is now on the 'Red List' for endangered species. The reed bunting was dependent on farmland for food in winter but modern farming methods which turn fields green with winter wheat rather than brown with corn stubble has hit this (any many other species too of course) very badly.
The reed bunting is a distinctive looking bird with that vivid white moustache and the noticeable pale eye stripe. The male 

Read more: Reed Bunting: an unfulfilled prophecy