The UK seems to have been hit by a wave of Hawfinch, a usually scarce, large finch, thousands have streamed through the country, and for once Buckinghamshire hasn’t missed out, we have nearing 200 (plus) records so far this winter, neighbouring counties are equally doing well, so it is the perfect time to find one on the patch, in fact one was spotted flying through just yesterday.
I have had a couple of short patch walks over the last few days searching for this enigmatic finches, rusty pink in colour, with large enough bills to crack the toughest of nuts. Have I found any yet? Well you’ll have to read on to find out!
26th October Afternoon
My first attempt was a rather damp affair, the grey skies were slowly emptying their water contents across the Buckinghamshire countryside, a thin, drizzle of rain steadily fell from the sky, while a dull mist seemed to also cling in the air.
The birding was nearly as dull, a few flashes of rusty orange from passing Redwings, the piping call of a Green Sandpiper alarming in its flight, the steady cawing of dimly lit Carrion Crow, not much out of the ordinary sadly.
Greylag Goose flying over
As is often the case when the birding is not the best I look to the local Konik ponies for inspiration and they didn’t fail me, as they stalked through the brown, slowly decaying plant-life, their grey, sandy colours blending into the shades of autumn beautifully.
An intimate moment with Konik Ponies
29th October Morning
After the failure on Thursday, and with a good friend (well he was! I joke of course) having spotted a Hawfinch flying low through the area on Saturday morning, I decided to try again today (Sunday 29th).
A rather mixed morning greeted me, there were moments of brilliant, warm sunshine, as well as times of dull, grey overcast skies, the wind was whipping through the Ouse valley as i began my search of the hedge edged fields to the West of the patch.
Plenty of jingling Goldfinch could be found flitting between the seed heads of the teasels and the tall blackthorn hedge rows, a few larger chaffinches flew through calling, but still no Hawfinch.
Long legged, Little Egret, stalked both the river Ouse and the Floodplain Forest Nature reserve, joined at the latter by tall, statue still, Grey Heron, and two tiny, bobbing, Green Sandpiper.
Distant Green Sandpiper
As I sat in the Farm Hide, enjoying the tranquility of the nature reserve. Listening to passing meadow pipits, with their high pitched “peep” call, and electronic sounding Skylark, both passing high over head. The peace was disturbed by squabbling Magpie, deep within the undergrowth. I am not sure what the squabble was over, but one came off worse than the other. Flying towards me and resting close on a nearby fence post, blood evident on its bill, and looking rather sheepish.
Magpie, about to go attack another
After the fight
Sadly, despite further walking, and even a few minutes sat below the church in Old Wolverton, there were still no Hawfinch to be seen. I’ll have one last try on Tuesday, to locate one of these fabulous finches. But I’m not holding out much hope sadly, it seems my luck is not in at the moment.