Sunday, 2 February 2014

Finches galore


A ringing session at Stortons Gravel Pits this morning provided an opportunity to catch about fifty birds.  The highlights included a Water Rail, two Moorhens, and plenty of Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Reed Buntings.  Two Reed Buntings were controls from elsewhere.

I was one of a small crew that ventured down to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire today where the weather was not quite as good as the bright and sunny conditions here in Northamptonshire!
Nevertheless we enjoyed a great day of quality woodland birding with the finch family taking centre stage.

Various sections of the forest were visited which included the viewpoint at New Fancy View and the woodland outskirts of the villages of Parkend and Brierley.

Exceptionally we saw large numbers of Hawfinches, probably in excess of forty birds which included flocks of 17 and 21.  A large mixed finch flock included many Bramblings, although they remained elusive amongst the leaf litter and beech plantations.  Crossbills were on show at almost every venue and the star birds of the day for many were about six Two-barred Crossbills in amongst one flock of Common Crossbills.  The Two-barreds emitted three different calls which included the superb nasal bugle calls.

A Dipper looked a little bizarre as it swam and fed in a shallow pond and the forest Goshawks showed very well with up to five individuals which included perched adult females and displaying males.  If only we could replicate these sightings in our own county!


Neil M

Water Rail at
Stortons GP by
Chris Payne

Male Two-barred Crossbill

Male Two-barred Crossbill
and nearby male Common Crossbill.
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