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Thanks to a successful conservation project, Cirl Buntings can be seen in many places along the coastal strip between Plymouth and Exeter. Cirl buntings are present all year but winter can be a good time to view them as they move around in flocks and can be less elusive than when they are breeding. Broadsands in Devon is the best site to photograph Cirl Buntings in winter when seed is put out for the birds to feed.
Best Lens: 500mmBest time of year: Oct - AprBest time of day: MorningsFitness level: EasyDistance: 0.5 milesWhat you need to know:
In many ways this is a turn up and shoot location so here are the key facts to help you get the most from your visit.
- Seed is put down between the end of October to the end of March, every three days or even every day if the weather turns very cold.
- Cirl Buntings are present all year but winter can be a good time to view them as they move around in flocks and can be less elusive than when they are breeding.
- Birds favour the hedgerows adjacent to the most northerly car park. On calm sunny days in winter, the buntings may even be heard singing from the car park itself and may also be present to the east around Elberry Cove.
- Numbers peak on the first morning (probably as the birds appreciate fresh food!) and tail off until the next lot of seed is dropped.
- To guarantee seeing the Cirl Buntings in good numbers at very close range, take along a bag of budgie seed, available in any pet shop, and spread it around the regular feeding area.
- Please do not use cheap standard wild bird seed it contains a lot of whole wheat which encourages larger birds and rats which in turn will keep the Cirl buntings away. Source Devon Birds
- The majority of the buntings travel some distance to feast on the seed, they are often joined by Reed Buntings and finches sometimes including Brambling.
- The area is used by dog walkers, which some birdwatchers find annoying, but it is probably these regular disturbances that make the bird so people-tolerant, so please be patient.
- Cirl Buntings can often be seen in and around the hedgerows adjacent to the most northerly car park. This car park is closed for parking in winter but there is pedestrian access.
- This site is suitable for wheelchair access