Monday, 19 June 2017

Plumstone - Yellow is no longer the colour?

Very early this morning, before it got too hot, we met up with Clive Hurford and Mike Young-Powell to look for yellowhammers at Plumstone, having carried out a similar survey of exactly the same area on exactly the same day 2 years ago! Jon Hudson was also involved on that occasion. 

Two years ago, in a posting  "Yellow is the colour" we were all quite chuffed to find at least 17 individual male yellowhammers (some noted in pairs) and some feeding young on the day of our visit. 

Today things were totally different! We could only be absolutely sure of 1 or 2 territory-holding males, with no positive proof of breeding. We gained an impression that one male may possibly have been moving from one end of Plumstone to the other - perhaps without a mate?

Whilst these are only snapshot observations, non-the-less the breeding population at Plumstone appears to have totally collapsed and over a relatively short time-scale. 

Yellowhammers can breed quite late into the summer and, trying to be optimistic, hopefully more will turn up in the next few weeks. If anyone has observations of yellowhammers breeding/holding territory here or really anywhere in the county, we'd ask you to record your sightings on the  Blog so that a better picture of their current Pembs distribution can be be obtained. 

With seemingly less and less arable margins available for them, supporting weedy patches with seed and insect food sources, and less spilled grain around in general, things are looking very grim indeed for this once quite widespread breeding resident species.  

We recorded a male and female cuckoo - plenty of mipits there to attract them - and it was nice to have a fleeting view of a well-marked redpoll but, without yellowhammers, Plumstone seemed a much duller place today!