Is the bird I saw in Kent some kind of bunting?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

QI won­der whether you can iden­tify a bird I saw last Septem­ber in Kent, in the Daleacres area? My first thought was some kind of bunting (Cirl?) but I am stumped. They were in the com­pany of Yel­lowham­mers and were sit­ting at the top of bushes on the bound­ary of our camp site. I thought the way the bird held its wings low down on its side might help. Mar­i­lyn De­war

AThey’re Reed Bunt­ings. In win­ter and im­ma­ture plumages, they can be very con­fus­ing birds, without the highly dis­tinc­tive black head and bib, and white col­lar, of the breed­ing male. One of them ap­pears to have a very plain, un­marked head, and a very grey rump, which might be sug­ges­tive of a younger bird. There’s at least a hint of a bib on all of them, which helps make the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. They’re not es­pe­cially so­cia­ble, and out­side of the breed­ing sea­son can be pretty un­ob­tru­sive, so maybe this was an ex­tended fam­ily group on the point of dis­pers­ing for the win­ter. Yel­lowham­mers are, of course, close rel­a­tives, so it’s not that sur­pris­ing to see the two to­gether. Although Reed Bunt­ings’ dis­tri­bu­tion is patchy, and they pre­fer reedbeds and sim­i­lar wet­land sites, they are also of­ten found in farm­land and drier ar­eas.

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