October 16th   Leave a comment

This weekend I finished up collating all the corn bunting records that have been sent to me this summer along with the RSPB’s survey records via Yvonne Stephan. We are interested in the population of the corn bunting because they have declined all over the country but still have a stronghold in the East Neuk. Even our population was declining but recent work by the RSPB encouraging farmers to provide crops and boundary areas that provide winter food has turned the tide. Our minimum estimate of breeding territories this year (2017) is 146, with maps posted below. An overall map and then a zoomed in one centred on Crail and a second zoomed in on Elie. 146 is a major improvement in numbers (109 minimum last year (2016), but probably closer to 120; 110 minimum in 2015 but probably closer to 117). Some of this may be because of more intensive monitoring by the RSPB and perhaps an increase in effort on our part. But what is suggested is that the population is growing again and at a good rate. We might expect to get more than 170 next year if we do have the suggested growth rate. If it stays around 150 then it may suggest this result is just a consequence of increased effort. My feeling is it is mostly an improvement in the population and a little bit more effort. Time will tell. One thing we can be sure of at this stage is that there does seem to be an improvement in the status of corn buntings in the East Neuk over the last few years and that the RSPB’s and the local farmers’ efforts are paying off. I am very grateful for their hard work. My day’s birding around Crail is always improved by a corn bunting.

All corn bunting territories recorded in 2017 plotted as black dots – 147 of them

A zoom in on Crail

A zoom in on Elie

The consequence of the increasing numbers of breeding corn buntings in the East Neuk – this a wintering flock of 70 birds in the St Monans area. Can you spot the linnet too?

Posted October 16, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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