Friday, 20 October 2017

Has it dropped down? 18th October 2017

On Wednesday 17th October an RBA Mega alert went out at lunchtime about a 'probable' Two barred Greenish Warbler frequenting a quarry at St Aldhelm's Head in deepest Dorset. On first being found the bird had erroneously been identified as an Arctic Warbler but on reviewing photos it had been re-identified as the much rarer and consequently much more desirable Two-barred Greenish Warbler.

Only four previous records have been accepted for Britain before this one and all bar one were in mid to late October. The last recorded was on 16th-18th October 2006 at Filey, North Yorkshire and the previous records showed that the birds only stayed for  very short time so it was imperative to get to see this latest one as soon as possible. Truly this was a total mega and birders the length of the land would be at this very moment making plans or already on their way to see it as soon as possible.

Two-barred Greenish Warblers come from very far away. They breed in the Yenisey Valley east to northern Mongolia and Ussuriland and south to northeast China.They normally spend their winter in southern China to northern Indochina and central Thailand.

Currently they are classed as a sub species of Greenish Warbler but all this will change on January 1st 2018 when the IOC(International Ornithological Congress) will class them as a species and the BOU (British Ornithologists Union) will follow their lead. Most birders already accept it as a valid species as do some taxonomic authorities

I  have never seen one so this called for prompt action but it was not feasible for me to get there on the same day, so instead I called the Clackmeister, my twitching buddy, who had already accompanied me to the Rock Thrush at Blaenavon in Wales on Saturday. 'Fancy going to see a Two barred Greenish, Clackers?'  'Sure' he replied. 'OK let's wait on news tomorrow and if it is there I will call you as soon as I know.'

Surprisingly early the next morning, at just after 7.30am RBA were reporting it as still present but 'elusive'.  Basically 'elusive' means you will have to probably stand for quite some time before it puts in an appearance but that is often par for the course with rare birds such as this, especially tiny warblers. We are all used to waiting. Sometimes all day.

I called Clackers at 8am, who, judging from the drowsy tone of voice was still abed and told him to be ready at 9am for a pick up from his home in Witney

With Clackers duly on board at 9am sharp we set a course for the West on a wet, post rush hour morning. Travelling at just after nine we had missed the worst of the rush hour traffic apart from the usual hold ups on the A34 between Abingdon and Didcot but once past Newbury it was a doddle. We had a good old moan about lorries on the A34 and how they should be banned and then we were on the M27 and Marge, the Satnav sulked into silence. She required re-booting and a good talking to and then was fine, as in dulcet and, I like to think, contrite tones, she instructed us to take various highways and byways towards Wareham and onwards to Worth Matravers. Ominously as we headed uphill to Worth Matravers the mist and murky conditions became ever more opaque and worries now set in as to whether we would actually see the bird at all assuming we found the location in the first place.

Eventually we came to the narrow Renscombe Road, just beyond Worth Matravers, along which a temporary car park had been set up in a farmers field and cost of entry was £2.00 per car. It could have been a lot more expensive as a car crippling dip in the ground at the field entrance lay in wait for the unwary. We survived this by driving at an angle over it and parked up in the field with a considerable number of other cars. Ten minutes later and we were all set and  as we left the field met a morose lady with a dog who was delighted to inform us that the warbler was very hard to see and used that word again 'elusive'. I looked at her binoculars and could understand why.

We headed off down the mile or so walk to get to the quarry, passing other birders coming the other way, relaxed and benign having assuaged their anxiety with a sighting of the warbler. It was wet, dank and drear but mild as we traversed a stony, muddy track that was surprisingly uncomfortable to walk on, especially for Clackers who was slowing visibly with his ongoing bad leg but heroically stuck to the task.We have a tacit agreement that if Clackers needs to rest it is in order for me to carry on and in the end we parted company although I always feel guilty about this. I went down a dip and then up and on a bend found a phalanx of birders, clustered precariously around the lip of the tree lined quarry and looking down and across to various trees and shrubs surprisingly close to us.This apparently was where the warbler would show itself if previous sightings were anything to go by.

To say it was standing room only would be an understatement. Rush hour trains had nothing on this as the restricted conditions meant that we were standing two, even three deep peering between various heads and shoulders. No one was giving an inch and there was a palpable tension in the air as the warbler had not been seen for some time. I dumped the scope on a grass bank as this was definitely a binoculars only situation and insinuated myself just behind two birders in 'the front stalls' so to speak, on the lip of the quarry, . I could see the trees between them so I was fine if the warbler appeared although a bit restricted in what I could see to my right, The person in front of me was shorter than me wearing a natty blue number but with the most lurid luminous green lining to his hood.I spoke to someone to my right and on hearing my voice the figure in front turned and lo t'was Gnome, another Oxonbirder. 'Adam, fancy meeting you here. Not another order on Ebay? (in joke). Any sign of the Two barred?'. 'Not yet' he told me as a Chiffchaff created a vague stir in the crowd. He told me he had come down with Dave Lowe who was somewhere in the scrum further along.The birder to our right enquired if we were Oxonbirders. He looked vaguely familiar but probably wasn't. 'Can't you tell my man. Is it not our aura of culture and refinement and the way we speak?' He laughed.

To my left were two guys with cameras, intent on photographing everything that moved. Various movements within the trees and shrubs created a mild panic as people got over excited especially these two. 'There it is!' they would cry  No it's a Chiffchaff'. 'Is that it?' 'No it's another Chiffchaff. These two to my left were getting in a bit of a lather as rather than looking in bins they were trying to focus a camera on something moving very quickly and erratically through the leaves. It was a lost cause but they persisted. There was also much discussion about the identity of the trees we were scanning so when the warbler finally appeared we could give precise directions i.e 'its in the Maple or its in the Ash, although a lady twitcher (shock) gently corrected me and told me it was a Field Maple. Other directions for future reference were discussed, such as right hand and left hand gaps in the trees but this served to confuse rather than help.

The trees frequented by the Two-Barred Greenish Warbler
All the time, at regular intervals Common Chiffchaffs would appear and once or twice, so would Firecrests, surely one of the most attractive of our native birds? Their face pattern is more than just sensational. They seem to be in Dorset in some numbers this year and Portland Bird Observatory, not far down the road, caught over fifty yesterday which is phenomenal.

All this was before any of us had seen the Two-barred Greenish Warbler. But then it happened. A noticeably pale warbler flicked up and then down into the foliage. It was gone in a second. 'That was it' we chorused. 'Was that it?' my friend on my left asked.'Where did it go'. I remained silent. Then the warbler just materialised from a Field Maple and remained perched and immobile for around twenty seconds in some bare twigs, giving one and all, eye watering views. A real stunner. You could not ask for more. Neat and clean looking. Tiny and with lichen green upperparts and a huge pale wing bar on the greater coverts and a smaller, fainter one in front, on the median coverts. A strongly patterned face added to the attraction with a bright supercilium, bold black line through the eye and a noticeably longer and finer bill than an Arctic Warbler. Its underparts were greyish white but at certain angles looked much paler and indeed it became a relatively easy way to identify it by this paler appearance, when it flew up and down with incredible speed to seize an insect. Chiffchaffs were doing the same at intervals but they always appeared browner and duller.

Two-barred Greenish Warbler
c Terry Sherlock
There were handshakes all round and an obvious release of anxiety and tension Everyone was now in a good place and strangers became instant friends.

Other sightings were again a bit of a trial for the two to my left  as every time someone, even us, saw the warbler  and called out where it was they kept asking, 'Where is it? 'Can you see it?' and their favourite phrase when they could not find it  'Has it dropped down?' I heard it so often it became indelibly imprinted on my consciousness.  I felt sympathetic and tried to help them and give directions but in the end I had to give up after one contorted instruction from me came out as gibberish 'It's in the left of the maple to the right of the left hand gap' but still our friend could not get on it. The lady birder started laughing.

Eventually they, as had everyone else, saw it well and were happy.

After its first appearance many birders left and we were not so tightly packed  and waited for an encore. It did not come for some little while but when it did it was well worth waiting for, as the warbler hung around this spot for some time and gave various cameo performances in and out of the leaves and twigs. Another time it appeared there was a seismic groan from down the line as someone went into orgasm over the sighting. Steady old boy.

By this time Adam had left and I was in the front row. Clackers unbeknown to me was just behind me  and had also seen the warbler well. 

Then Terry appeared at my shoulder. Another Oxonbirder. Quite a gathering of us.

There were other friends and acquaintances from past twitches to say hello to and acknowledge. And so it progressed with the hypnotic sound of the quarry conveyor belt humming constantly in the backgound. Clackers departed as it would take him a long time to walk back to the car with his bad leg.We would join him later. The mist seemed to dissipate slightly and even the sun almost broke through prompting a Chiffchaff to give a brief burst of song.

The warbler put in quite a number of brief but adequate appearances to keep us happy and on our toes and then it went quiet. Adam and Dave had returned and after a team photo we made our way up the track and back to the car. Other late arriving birders were passing us with that look of concentration on their faces that was all too familiar to us a couple of hours ago.

The mist had by now come back with a vengeance and the day was very dull and gloomy, almost depressing but illuminated by the star bird we had seen. We found a small cafe in Corfe Mullen, as neither of us had eaten, but there was no all day breakfast so we had to make do with something else to fill the gap. Clackers went for Quiche and salad while I opted for the full Afternoon Tea.

My grateful thanks to Terry Sherlock for the images of the Two-barred Greenish Warbler

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Parrots and Snowballs in Shetland Part Six 10th-11th October 2017

Day 10 

The wind was now southwest but had strengthened considerably overnight so we were back to normal.Well normal for Unst anyway. However the rain kept away so birding although difficult in the wind was bearable.

We looked for a Glaucous Gull that had been reported yesterday on one of the small lochs around Uyeasound but there was no sign of it today, just the usual loafing flock of Great Black backed and Herring Gulls.

We did not tarry long as we wanted to get to Haroldswick Beach to try and see the Bluethroat that John and Wee George had found on the beach there yesterday. We parked by the beach and each of us took one half of the beach to cover. 

According to John and Wee George, the Bluethroat was very confiding and spent its time patrolling the high tideline looking for food.With high hopes we set off along our respective section of the beach but forty minutes later we had seen nothing except a Rock Pipit. We walked the entire beach three times just in case we had missed the bird but there was nothing here. Disappointed, I walked across the road to check the wet ditch on the other side in case it was sheltering there, from the now very strong wind, but only a couple of Common Snipe  rose from the ditch and field beyond. There was a small hedge of wild roses running inland at a right angle from the drystone wall by the road that looked promising, so I went to the lee side of the hedge to see if anything was sheltering there. A small bird hopped out and perched in the open. Through the binoculars I could see it was just a Common Chiffchaff. Another movement came from lower down  in the hedge but at first it was hard to discern what it was. Could this be the Bluethroat? The answer came soon enough when out popped a Lesser Whitethroat.

Donald rejoined me and before we left the area I had a brief look at the impressive Skidbladner, a full sized replica of the Gokstad ship found in a Viking burial mound in Norway in 1880, and placed by the sea near to Haroldswick beach for visitors to  board and look over it. The original ship is thought to have been built during the reign of Harald Fairhar, who is said to have landed in Unst and after whom the bay of Haroldswick is named.

The Skidbladner
Having decided to cut our losses and go to Norwick and Valyie, we found there were lots of birds in the crop strip fields and a late Willow Warbler greeted us as it hopped along a garden wall. I stood by the fields and waited to see what was feeding in the tangles of vegetation. As I got my eye in I could see the usual flock of Twite but also in with them were some redpolls. At first they all appeared to be Mealy Redpolls but then something alarmed the birds and they rose from the field, separating into two flocks, the Twite going one way and at least ten Mealy Redpoll circling the crop and then descending back down into the field. One chose to settle on a fence post just behind me by the road. It called a wheezy contact call over and over, the call sounding a little strange and looking through the bins I could see how white this bird was. I checked the overall frosted appearance, pure white rump and underparts and small bill. It was a Coue's Arctic Redpoll and as it rejoined the other Mealy Redpolls, the contrast between the larger, greyer, more heavily streaked Mealy Redpolls and the whiter, cleaner looking Coue's Arctic Redpoll could not have been starker.

Left-Mealy Redpoll is darker overall, more heavily streaked,
the rump is streaked and the bill larger
Right -Coue's Arctic Redpoll is whiter and more frosted overall
with an all white rump and tiny bill that looks like it is pushed  
into the face

Coue's Arctic Redpoll

Mealy Redpoll
At least five Brambling dropped into the field to join the Twite and redpolls as did some Chaffinch and in the end I was content to spend quite some time here just watching the comings and goings of the finches. Two House Martins and a Swallow flew over Northwick Beach.

Donald wanted to move on, so we stopped for a coffee at The Final Destination store where I bought a bottle of the local Gin, made from seaweed, to take back to my wife. Then we went back to the hostel to access the internet and, while there, Donald got a text saying that the Bluethroat was back on Haroldswick Beach! We dropped everything and in no time were back at the beach and joining four birders already taking photos of the Bluethroat

Haroldswick Beach
We slipped down onto the beach from the grassed bank and rocks, to get out of the wind and not appear so obvious in profile. We need not have worried as the Bluethroat passed back and fore in front of us, coming as close as anyone could have desired. So many birds on Shetland seem so confiding.Why is that?

This Bluethroat, probably a male, was particularly attractive. At this time of year they are usually less brightly coloured than this one, often being juveniles or females with little colouring on their throat and chest, just faint smudges of darker feathering. In the sunshine this bird's coloured bands positively glowed when it turned to face me, showing a combination of rich reddish chestnut and blue interspersed with black providing a glorious splash of colour on its otherwise buff underparts. This would indicate it was probably an adult. Later, close examination of a photo showed the greater coverts were uniform  in colour, another indication of adulthood.

Other birders or photographers joined me on the beach and followed the Bluethroat, scrambling for position as it moved along the beach but I decided to stay put. Rather than pursuing it I waited, snug in a hollow of the bank above the beach, surrounded by grass and looking down on a mess of tideline seaweed, like some huge dish of multi coloured tagliatelli, all red, golden, orange and brown. The Bluethroat was far away up the beach but I knew it would come back past me eventually, feeding along the stranded seaweed, and if I remained motionless it would not take alarm, and would pass very close to me and I would get my pictures.

Donald, meanwhile, had gone back to the hostel, where he could get a phone signal by sitting on the landing, in order to make some phone calls to the ferry company, as we planned to leave Shetland earlier than planned tomorrow evening, due to severe weather coming in for the next few days.

It was not unpleasant sitting overlooking the beach, feeling isolated and  quietly contemplative in the sun, looking out at a couple of Grey Seals, curious as to what was going on and come to look at these strange people following a small bird up and down the beach.They came very close. rearing up out of the water to get a better view. Ringed Plovers and Turnstones came to the beach too, looking for food in the stranded mess of seaweed and sand amongst the rocks.

After forty or so minutes a tiny movement betrayed the return of the Bluethroat which in a series of hops moved along past me, feeding as it went, and then carrying onwards to the northern end of the beach. The distant photographers hurried up to me in pursuit of the Bluethroat but they were too late and the Bluethroat flew to the large rocks at the end of the beach and disappeared from view They waited but it did not come back and they left. I remained where I was, content and happy to just sit and look out to sea. I knew the Bluethroat would come back and sure enough it emerged from the rocks and commenced working its way back along the beach, coming right up to me and then past me totally unconcerned. Once it was past me I  waited until it had moved some distance and then quietly left. Fieldcraft is a much abused and over used word in the world of birding these days but I did, for once, feel justified in claiming I had used such a thing and it paid dividends.

Donald, having returned, and both of us now having had a surfeit of the Bluethroat, suggested we go back to Ungirsta and the conifer plantation as a Long eared Owl had been reported from the plantation yesterday.This time I would be going in!

We crossed Jim's swampy land once more and I battled my way into the conifers. It was hard going as the trees were planted close together but there were opportunities to find spaces so I could walk, an erratic course on a deep bed of pine needles, the length of the small plantation. I walked up and down and then up again. Donald had remained outside to see if anything flew out.

On my third pass there was a commotion above me in the top of a conifer and a large dark shape flew up and out.The Long eared Owl! I left the wood and further along, the owl must have been perched in the top of another conifer, as it flew again, silhouetted against the sky as it flew back over to the other side of the plantation. There was no sign of Donald who had given up on my finding the owl and wandered off. I relayed the news to him and Donald 'went in' but failed to flush the owl. A flock of twenty Bramblings and Chaffinches flew out of the wood but nothing else.

After this we headed for 'The Final Destination' for another cup of tea and met Dave, a friend of Donald and currently leading a bird tour. He told us of the recent arrival that afternoon of a Common Rosefinch at Norwick, so we abandoned the tea break and made full speed to Norwick.

The rosefinch had been feeding in the crop strip field and sitting on telephone wires but there was no sign of it when we got there. Donald remained by the field but I wandered up the hill to Valyie and stood, looking at the Sycamore in the garden. A rapid flicking movement alerted me to the presence of a warbler in the Sycamore and soon I was watching a Yellow browed Warbler flitting about at great speed, flycatching amongst the outer leaves.They are such attractive little birds, a combination of green and off white with yellow stripes and bars. It soon departed and I walked back down the hill to join Donald who told me he had been watching the rosefinch!

It has been noticeable today that there are now Redwings and Bramblings arriving on the island.

I stood once again by the field, more in hope than expectation, but eventually a mixed flock of Bramblings, Mealy Redpolls, Chaffinches and Twite rose from the field and flew to the telephone wires and there, amongst them, was the Common Rosefinch. An immature or female, its unremarkable grey plumage making it not the most charismatic  of birds but hopefully it will remain for a while.

Donald told me the unwelcome news that the ferry had said they were fully booked for tomorrow night, as at this time of year many of the farms were sending livestock to markets on the mainland.We would have to 'stand by' at the terminal tomorrow evening and hope for a cancellation or someone not turning up, otherwise we would have to wait until our original booking, which was for Sunday. As rain and high winds were predicted from Thursday onwards this was not a welcome prospect.

We drove back to the hostel but I  got Donald to drop me at Uyeasound Pier so I could have another try at seeing Otters but it was not to be. I walked back the mile or so to the hostel in the gloaming, a world now turning monochrome, the sea silver and dark slivers of cloud creeping across the last vestiges of the day. The air off the sea smelt of salt and seaweed and I was alone on the open, lonely road with just the wind for company.

I got back to the hostel and packed most of my things, as tomorrow we would be leaving the hostel for good, going to Mainland and birding there, before attempting to get on the ferry. Donald wanted to check out a persistent rumour about a Siberian Rubythroat being seen in a cabbage field at a place called Cullavoe, just a mile south of Isbister, where we saw the Red Flanked Bluetail a couple of days ago.

Day 11

After breakfast and saying goodbye to John and Wee George, who we would see on the ferry tonight if we got on, Donald and myself loaded up the car and set off for Uyeasound for just one more chance at the Otters. They were not around but a flock of sixty plus corvids, Hooded Crows and Ravens, were tucking into a huge bin of fish waste from the salmon farm pens that were located out in the sea beyond the pier. It looked pretty disgusting and we left them to it. The day looked like it might be good, as after one heavy but short lived shower the sky turned blue and the land was bathed in sunshine.

We followed the route north once we were on Mainland and traversed the same wild and uninhabited landscape as a couple of days before but what a transformation had come about, as now, despite the desolate miles of moorland on either side still looming away into the distance, with the banishing of the rain, everything was illuminated by the sun. The lochs and inlets were the brightest sparkling blue and the moors were varying shades of reddish brown and dull green where the moor grasses grew. It was still windy and the occasional short lived shower kept us on our mettle. In fact, when we got to Cullavoe and had just got out of the car a vicious shower arrived out of nowhere. I dived back into the car and the rain lashed at the car windows but it passed in a few minutes. Donald, made of sterner stuff, stuck it out, walking down the road looking in gardens with a couple of other birders but he must have got soaked.

Frankly I was not too enthusiastic about chasing after a dubious rumour about a Siberian Rubythroat. Nobody had really got a  definite sight of it, although someone was claiming they had a photo of it. It was all too vague for my liking and, anyway, I had seen a male at Gulberwick in Shetland in 2011 and another male in Holland last year, so was not as fired up as Donald, who had never seen one.

I had an idea, and suggested to Donald that I take the car a mile further on to Isbister and get some photos of the Red flanked Bluetail as it was now sunny and no more showers were imminent, whilst Donald went in search of what was probably a non existent Siberian Rubythroat.

We agreed on an hour and then I would return. It took but five minutes to get to Isbister and the farmyard was still looking almost as desolate as before, even though it was sunny. I went in search of the bluetail. I tried the iris beds and found the bird almost immediately, low down, out of the wind, hopping from stem to stem, chasing insects. 

The Red flanked Bluetail's favoured iris beds
This time it looked a lot more bright as it was not soaked by rain and the blue tail and rump were much more colourful and evident

It flew from the iris beds to a fence and posed nicely here and I just followed it at a discrete distance. I found if I just stood and did not make any sudden movement it would come very close, as close as three feet on one memorable occasion. It never made a  sound all the time I  watched but just flitted about from one small area to another constantly in search of food. The only other birds I saw were some House Sparrows and the bluetail kept very much to itself.

As agreed I returned to Cullavoe on time and met Donald coming down the drive of a small house.He was not happy as he had just been speaking to the man who owned the house when an Acrocephalus warbler either a Reed Warbler or a Blyth's Reed Warbler appeared in a bush in the garden just as Donald realised he had left his camera in the car with me. Maybe he was also upset as he had come to realise that the Siberian Rubythroat was a non starter (It was in fact later confirmed as a hoax).

A few words were spoken but eventually after he had calmed down I persuaded Donald that we should go back to the garden and try to re-find the warbler. We met the man at the house again, who kindly gave us permission to search the garden in the company of his two boisterous Bulldogs. After a fruitless search, we were just leaving, when one of the dogs flushed the warbler into a bush but it did not stay there long and flew off across the yard to another house nearby. We gave chase and the warbler flew from one patch of cover to another, refusing to remain still for more than a few seconds until we finally lost it when it flew around the side of a barn out of view. Donald had, remarkably, managed to get a record shot of the warbler however but we still were not sure what species it was. (Later it was confirmed as only a Reed Warbler)

It was now early afternoon and we decided that before making our way to the ferry terminal, which Donald said we should get to at 5pm, we should have another look at the Thrush Nightingale at Sandgarth, which was on our route back to Lerwick. Leaving Cullavoe I saw six Whooper Swans, two adults and four young, on a small loch and later, two Rooks feeding in a roadside field, had to be migrants. We arrived at Sandgarth to find we were the only people present and we took up position in the same place where we had watched for it before. We waited for an hour maybe, as slowly other birders arrived, including John and Wee George, but there was no sign of the Thrush Nightingale and then it was time to leave. We learnt as we left that it had moved to another part of the garden that was behind us but it was too late to do anything about it and we had to move on, so we never saw it.

We got to the ferry terminal on time and checking at the desk were told there was no problem about us getting on board! All very strange but we were hardly going to make an issue about it. A few minutes later we had our boarding cards and drove onto the ferry. An hour later we sailed from Lerwick on a beautiful, sunlit and calm evening.

My trip to Shetland had come to its conclusion and tomorrow night I would be home in Oxfordshire.

Birds seen

Northern Gannet; Great Cormorant; European Shag; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Whooper Swan; Pink footed Goose; Greylag Goose; Eurasian Wigeon; Eurasian Teal; Mallard; Ring necked Duck; Tufted Duck; Common Goldeneye; Red breasted Merganser; White tailed Eagle; Common Kestrel; Merlin; Common Crane; Ringed Plover; European Golden Plover; Northern Lapwing; Sanderling; Purple Sandpiper; Dunlin; Ruff; Eurasian Curlew; Common Redshank; Turnstone; Arctic Skua; Long tailed Skua; Great Skua; Black headed Gull; Herring Gull; Great Black backed Gull;Common Guillemot; Black Guillemot; Rock Dove; Long eared Owl; Sky Lark; Swallow; House Martin; Olive backed Pipit; Meadow Pipit ; Red throated Pipit; Rock Pipit; Buff bellied Pipit; Dunnock; European Robin; Thrush Nightingale; Bluethroat; Red flanked Bluetail; Common Redstart; Whinchat; Northern Wheatear; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Redwing; Eurasian Reed Warbler; Barred Warbler; Lesser Whitethroat; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Yellow browed Warbler; Common Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Spotted Flycatcher; Pied Flycatcher; Rook; Hooded Crow; Raven; Common Starling; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Brambling; European Greenfinch; Twite; Lesser Redpoll; Mealy Redpoll; Arctic Redpoll; Parrot CrossbillCommon Rosefinch; Rustic Bunting; Little Bunting; Reed Bunting.