Photo by Edmund Fellowes / BTO
We are now in the middle of winter and have already experienced some snow and cold frosty mornings. During these spells it is even more important to feed the birds which frequent our garden and usually bad weather brings in more birds than usual. Sometimes birds which we don’t normally see will come in to our gardens.
You may have seen some winter thrushes such as Redwings and Fieldfares around. These have flown all the way from Scandinavia. When the weather is particularly inclement, they will enter gardens and feed on fallen apples or the berries on Pyracantha, Cotoneaster and Rowan, that is if you still have any left after the Blackbirds have taken their share.
This year however, a rather special bird has visited our country in unprecedented numbers. This is a bird which birdwatchers will go out of their way to see and it’s not easily found as it is a rather shy and cautious bird. It is the Hawfinch. These birds are elusive at the best of times but many are turning up in unexpected places, even gardens which they do not normally frequent. This sudden influx is thought to be due to a poor seed crop in Eastern Europe and this has made the birds move further north and west. It is reckoned that twenty times the normal numbers have come over here. We do have resident Hawfinches and it is thought there are between 500 to 1,000 breeding pairs in Britain so it is indeed a rather scarce bird. Most recordings of Hawfinches in Nottinghamshire come from the Dukeries and may therefore be seen at Clumber Park and Rufford Country Park. Normally you have to be up at the crack of dawn to see them though.
There is no mistaking a Hawfinch. It is the largest member of the finch family. They have large powerful bills which are capable of breaking cherry stones. Their Latin name is Coccothraustes coccothraustes which translates to “seed breaker. “ Because they have a short tail, they tend to look top heavy. They have a rusty brown back and their breast and belly are buff. The head is orange-brown with a black bib and a grey neck.
This year there may be no better chance of seeing one of these birds. So, if you are in the Dukeries look up at the tops of trees and you may just be lucky enough to see one. You may also be even more fortunate and have one in your garden.
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at email@example.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw
Woodborough W.I. Meetings are held at the Village Hall at 7:30pm on the third Monday of each month. Visitors and new members are most welcome. For further details contact Jenny on (0115) 965 4186.
A New Year
Happy New Year
After all the Christmas pud, turkey and the rest,
The new year is upon us and we want to look our best!
The dress I bought for partying is hanging on the door-
I jumped upon my bathroom scales, they’re lying I’m sure.
I’ll have to do it all again, the lettuce without bread.
I’ll have to miss the chocolates and turn away my head!
They say that I’ll live longer and feel better day by day,
But why do all the shops put temptation in our way?
I look outside my window now and the sun is shining bright.
I’ve got plans to meet some friends later on tonight.
The world is full of wonder, I’m happy I’m alive,
I’ll make my choices carefully because I want to survive.
But sometimes I’ll be naughty when no one else sees
Because no body’s perfect, especially me!