Rare bird near Axminster sparks a flap

14:30 15 February 2017

The rare Little Bunting. Picture: STEVE WAITE

The rare Little Bunting. Picture: STEVE WAITE

Archant

A rare little bunting has been spotted by a bird watcher at Axminster.

Trinity Hill Nature Reserve  at AxminsterTrinity Hill Nature Reserve at Axminster

It was seen on the Trinity Hill Local Nature Reserve, a heathland managed by the East Devon District Council Countryside service.

Little buntings are rarely seen in the UK. They breed in the far north east of Europe and across northern Asia, typically spending winter in southern Asia, China and India.

Easterly winds, which dominated autumn 2016, resulted in only a few being detected in the UK.

The little bunting was seen by keen ornithologist Steve Waite, who managed to take some photographs.

He said: “Each autumn, small numbers of little bunting are seen in the UK, most often in the Northern Isles and along the east coast.

“It is thought there are about eight in the UK at the moment, with three together in Cornwall and one at Trinity Hill in East Devon.

“I was really pleased to see the bird and other bird-watchers have now come to take a look at this potentially once-in-a-lifetime spot.’’

EDDC Countryside team leader James Chubb said: “It is always exciting for something rare or unusual to be seen at one of our nature reserves.

“We often have a handful of reed buntings on site, but this year, following great management by the Countryside team and our dedicated volunteers, the site has supported upwards of 30 birds at Trinity Hill.

“The rarely seen little bunting was probably attracted to the reserve by the reed buntings which will feed here before heading back to their wetland breeding grounds in spring.’’

East Devon’s environment spokesman Cllr Iain Chubb said: “The sighting is a lovely piece of news. It’s great to hear our countryside is being sensitively managed for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of local people.’’

To find out more about EDDC’s Countryside sites, visit wildeastdevon.co.uk

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