Reed Bunting breeds on Jersey for first time since 1990s


Reed Bunting has successfully bred on Jersey for the first time in almost 30 years.

The record was confirmed when wildlife photographer John Ovenden recently captured images of the birds at St Ouen's Pond on island's west coast, including the male bunting returning to a nest with three caterpillars in its beak.

The last time Reed Bunting bred on the Channel Island was in 1997 – prompting the National Trust for Jersey to say it was "very excited" about this year's news.

The male Reed Bunting carrying food at St Ouen's Pond enheath Fen (John Ovenden).


Winter visitor

Reed Bunting is a somewhat low-level winter visitor to areas such as St Ouen's Pond and Grouville Marsh, but departs in the spring to breeding grounds elsewhere. Indeed, this status is reflected across the entire Channel Islands archipelago.

Ovenden, who works for the National Trust for Jersey, said: "I took my camera to try and get a record of it and it was feeding back and forwards, coming in with caterpillars and different things.

"It is wonderful because it shows that the habitat is good for them. There needs to be a lot of food within an area close to their nest to feed their young. It's a privilege to see and lovely to know that we have it in our habitats."


Reed return

Mick Dryden, ornithologist at La Societe Jersiaise, said having a pair of breeding birds back in Jersey was "great" as numbers of the species had declined due to a loss of habitats.

"We hope that their offspring will regard Jersey as their home and breed themselves," he said. "We are always happy to have a new breeding species here."

In a Facebook post, the National Trust for Jersey commented: "We are very excited this week to have confirmation of a successful breeding pair of Reed Buntings at St Ouen's Pond SSI, the first confirmed breeding since 1997. We are hoping to see the first recorded Jersey-born Reed Bunting chicks in nearly 30 years very soon."