Wednesday 25 October 2017


All of last week I was up before first light and out birding. I didn't do this in spring, I certainly didn't do it in September, so what changed? Hawfinches is what changed, somewhat of a national invasion, and the thought of a getting full fat (in several ways) patch tick could not hold me back. So last week saw the most dedication that I have shown on patch for many years. And naturally I failed completely.

Throughout the week the avian world was, from my perspective, divided into two types of birds, Hawfinches and Not Hawfinches. As mentioned I saw none of the former at all, but I did see lots of Not Hawfinches as they streamed overhead. My Brambling count has increased markedly, indeed so has my count of most finches that were identifiable. Is there anything more irritating than the silent silhouette of a finch going over? I mean I could go with defaults, call them all Chaffinches, but that would be weak. They probably were mostly all Chaffinches as it happens, but I like to there to be a little mystery in birding. And anyway, I was able to assign them all to Not Hawfinches. Lots of Meadow Pipits, lots of Woodpigeons, and increasing numbers of Redwings meant that the mornings were not without entertainment, and as Bob and I struggled each day we were maintained by the thought of how noble it was. Proper birding.

I could not last the pace of course, and buggered off to America on Saturday after another dud dawn session (more on this later, decidedly non-birding), but Bob persevered, and eventually they fell to him and Nick a couple of days ago. I like to think that at least I had the right idea, even if I was not able to convert my inklings into inked in. I still feel like I have a chance though, Hawfinches are being seen as flyovers all over the place and with some regularity, and I am already on my back home, there to take up my position at the Vizmig Point.

Not Hawfinch at Canary Wharf 


  1. Still time Jono.... I reckon 1st hour in the morning...

    1. Sorry to come back so late on this, but a week or so further on down the line that is indeed the case - the morning period before (what is now) 8am is clearly best for passage.