Saturday, 8 December 2012

Bramfield Church, Hawfinches

The previous two days have seen reports of Hawfinches being present at Bramfield Church in Hertfordshire.
Having missed them earlier in the year on two occasions I was keen for a visit. Dad having never seen a Hawfinch before and also needing one more tick for his 250th of the year is not only keen but desperate to go.
Hawfinch
A mix up on my part with the church on Google sees us arrive at the wrong church. Brian quickly finds the right one and we are walking around the cricket pitch heading for the church gate.
A Barn Owl flies low along the hedges, It lands briefly on a fence post but is quickly mobbed by numerous Magpies forcing it to head across the next field and out of view. 
It's seen again shortly afterwards when it flies through the hedges and heads off along the roadside.
It's shortly after 8am when we get the first sighting of Hawfinch. Five birds fly into the tall poplars and after confirming that they are Hawfinch I'm running down the road trying to find dad who's gone walkabout.
Luckily the birds stay put long enough for him to get good views and add another lifer and his 250th year tick. Congratulations dad.
The birds leave the poplars and head for the yew tree at the back of the church. Again good views are had but the poor light and the distance makes for poor photos.
Smew
We stay for around five hours and are surprised by how many people arrive in that time. Fifty plus people come and go including among them one Lee Evans.
Best views of the Hawfinches were when they left the church grounds and headed across the road into The Old Rectory gardens. Giving superb scope views.

Leaving Bramfield we head for Amwell Nature Reserve. At the viewpoint there's a redhead Smew found and a few Goldeneye. 
At Tumbling Bay the 1st winter male Scaup is quickly found. It spends most of it's time while we were there sleeping. 
1st winter drake Scaup

A stunning male Smew is found along with another redhead at the back of the island.


Shame the weather stayed overcast throughout the morning, and this coupled with the birds being too distant made for poor photo's.
But it's more about seeing the birds for me, if I can get a photo it's a nice bonus.





The scope views more than made up for the poor photo opportunities.

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