Ambiguous birding syntax

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So today, I saw a reed bunting at my local park, New Hall Valley. It’s not the first reed bunting i’ve ever seen, but it was the first one I spotted on my local patch.

So naturally, I tweeted about it and immediately realised how confusing this sentence could be (and how common it might be for birdwatchers!):

This could mean: “I saw my first reed bunting, and it was at New Hall Valley”. Or, it could mean: “It was the first time i’ve seen a reed bunting at New Hall Valley”. It was the latter.

Anyway, the reed bunting was singing loudly, and to be sure it was a reed bunting, I consulted the RSPB bird identifier website to hear the audio. Obviously a little disgruntled (or excited) by the sound of another reed bunting in the vicinity, it flew directly at me, and over my head to a nearby bush. I hope he sticks around! 

My very first reed bunting was spotted at RSPB Middleton Lakes a couple of years ago, not surprisingly amongst the reeds! To many people, it could just be another little brown bird, (similar in size and colouring as a sparrow – even the RSPB can get confused after too many cups of tea on a Friday afternoon!), but it’s the distinctive black cap that sets it apart.

More recently at Middleton, I am seeing them becoming much braver at the bird feeders, and just last week I saw a flock of about 15 of them feeding on the ground down one of the lanes just before dusk.

Here’s a couple of photos I managed to take…


Reed bunting


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