Garden Birding

Friday 8th - Sunday 17th February 2013
One of the four Hawfinches at Quedgeley on 10th February
I have been lucky to see a great range of birds in and around the garden lately. These have included up to five Siskins, three Bramblings, three Bullfinches, two Goldfinches, 25 Chaffinches (including a half-albino reminiscent of a Snow Bunting!), 15 Greenfinches, a female Blackcap, and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. But a most remarkable event brought back memories of late winter 2009. On Saturday 9th February two HAWFINCHES were seen by Jonathan Connor in trees at the edge of Dimore playing field, to the rear of my garden in Quedgeley. The next morning I checked the field to find FOUR HAWFINCHES perched in tall trees at the west end of the field nearest the canal. Since then I have since at least one on two occasions from my conservatory in the trees just beyond my back fence, including yesterday, when I also saw one one the other side of the field near the entrance. With Mark, we could hear the calls of at least one bird. The Hawfinches are mainly feeding on Cherry stones beneath the Wild Cherry trees which line the edges of the field. Hopefully they will stay into March as they did back then in '09.
This partial albino Chaffinch has been a regular visitor since 10th February
One of three Bramblings visiting the garden since 16th February
A male Siskin awaits its turn at the garden feeders
Other birding recently has involved a second helping of the Cheltenham Great Northern Diver on 8th (it seems to have now departed); and my first outing of the year to the Forest with Andy where the highlights on a quiet morning were a Dipper and two Hawfinches at Parkend. Sunday's visit to WWT Slimbridge with Andy and Mark hoping to spot the American Wigeon was unsuccessful, but we did see the American x Eurasian hybrid and a leucistic individual, and Mark spotted a lone Knot on the Dumbles. The light was excellent, showing up the 1000's of waterfowl and waders on The Dumbles and Tack Piece to great effect.
The Diver was looking even more resplendent ..
.. in better light than on my previous visit
A pair of Pintail on the Tack Piece at WWT Slimbridge on 17th February

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