In recent years we've had irrupting Waxwing during the winter of 2010-11, then last year it was Yellow-browed Warblers. This past week it has been Hawfinch.
One of the most popular species of finch, the stunning Hawfinch is both alluring and elusive. And it can behave in mysterious ways. In March 2013 Steve Gale found an amazing flock of more than 100 Hawfinch in Juniper Bottom near Box Hill – the stuff of legend. They were like a freak of nature, there were so many of them and they arrived completely out of the blue. No-one could have predicted their arrival.
This current irruption began last week and as the days have progressed it has gathered momentum.
I went up to Headley Heath on Sunday morning and saw very little, whereas six were seen just down the road to the west of me at Juniper Bottom. At the same time to the east, on my local patch at Holmethorpe, Gordon Hay and Ian Kehl saw one fly over the Water Colour complex – it was only the second site record.
Steve Gale got his first sighting on Headley Heath last week and followed up with five on his garden list as he vis-migged yesterday morning.
Local birders were seeing Hawfinch all over the place. The only local birder who had yet to see one was predictably me.
|Storm Orphelia sky at Foreness Point|
|Three of the six Hawfinch on Headley Heath this afternoon|
I called out to Annie and managed to get a decent view of them for about a minute before they flew off west, along with three others that must have been obscured on the other side of the tree. I reckon they may have been the six originally seen at Juniper Bottom on Sunday.
Wherever they came from it was still an unexpected surprise. It certainly made my day.