While spring has struggled to splutter into life and having watched more than 50 Hawfinch two weeks ago along the bridle way near Box Hill, I couldn't resist going back a couple of times last week. The Hawfinch were very mobile, as always, and split up into small groups, but Steve's mother ship flock were always close by.
The most I managed to roughly count was about 80 birds on Saturday at around 1pm. Opinions vary on their origin. A keen Hawfinch observer from Essex I met on Saturday (I've forgotten his name though) reckoned they came over from the continent. Others think it possible they have been here all winter. Wherever they are from, these Hawfinch are enigmatic to the last.
They follow a certain pattern of behaviour. They settle in the trees early before flying off for about an hour then return in small groups, followed soon after by the Steve Gale mother ship flock. On Thursday, for example, some later perched high in a beech tree while most disappeared to ground, most likely to feed. A few popped back up into view and they could be clearly seen wiping their bills clean on the branches.
|Hawfinch on Thursday morning
|Two of around 50 Hawfinch along Juniper Bottom on Thursday morning
|Two of around 80 Hawfinch along Juniper Bottom on Saturday morning
|Marsh Tit at Juniper Bottom
|Distant view of the Red-throated Diver on the north basin at Staines Reservoir
Spring officially arrives this weekend, and hopefully so will a few Wheatear. Canons Farm has had one handsome male drop in during the past week. Shouldn't be too long either before a few Ring Ouzel turn up along with the usual migrant suspects.