Saturday, 28 February 2015

In search of the Hawfinch!

Bramfield Village - 2nd February 15

Weather: Sunny with slight cloud. Very cold.

Birds seen:
Red Kite; Buzzard; Pheasant (H); Black-headed Gull; Woodpigeon; Collared Dove; Wren; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Goldcrest; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Coal Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Nuthatch; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Greenfinch. Total: 22
Plus: Fox; Grey Squirrel.

I was given an opportunity to visit Bramfield Village today, by my friend and fellow birder and Blogger, Ron aka Amwell Watcher, to try and locate some Hawfinch which had been reported to be in the area. The primary location for them was the local churchyard.

On the way down I spotted a Kestrel and a few Grey Herons (but not Harry) and quite a few Wigeon in the fields. I also spotted a couple of Foxes, one after another, on the train to Ware.

Earlier, on the station platform and on the trains I found myself engulfed by groups of children with adults, a group of teenagers and a couple of groups of the 'older generation'. It reminded me a little of bird watching, seeing youngsters; juveniles and adults, all of them dressed in their winter plumage.

So, having met Ron at Ware station, we drove the short distance to the Village. When we arrived we found several other birders already present, already scouring the area around the cemetery grounds.

Not long after we arrived our first bird, a Common Buzzard, turned up, right above us.

Over the course of the next few hours we spotted plenty of birds, mainly passerines. I was delighted to see a few Greenfinch, the first I've seen for some time. Amongst all the usual garden birds, there were several Goldcrests and Coat Tits.

The weather was sunny enough, if a little cold, but, armed with my magic scarf, I was warm enough. After about 30 minutes we decided to try and locate a Little Owl, that was seen a few days earlier. We were halfway across the local playing field when one of the others called us back. A lone Hawfinch was seen, briefly, by one birder. But we were unable to locate it again.

We then wandered off down the road and down a sidetrack, politely ignoring the 'No Entry' signs, where we spotted a Red Kite above us and a couple of Nuthatches, another bird that I haven't seen for a long time.

Back at the cemetery we waited in vain for a Hawfinch and, as time went by, we decided that we were not going to see one today. So, as Ron had another appointment, we decided to call it a day, with Ron kindly dropping me at Amwell.

There is another chance to see one here in a couple of days so fingers crossed.

'Birds: The only animal you can eat before they’re born and after they’re dead.'