Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Went out on Tuesday expecting some sun at last, but it was obvious when we set off pre dawn, that we were in for another dull and gloomy day. We had decided to go in search of Hawfinches, a bird that we had missed out on a few times over the past year. We started off in Eastleigh at the Lakeside Country Park. Hawfinches are regularly reported there although we had never managed to see one. It also has the added advantage that the cafe does a great bacon sandwich and cup of tea which would help to console us if we dipped out yet again.

As it happens we spotted the bird as soon as we arrived. I managed to snap a quick record shot, distant and in silhouette, but still clearly recognisable as a Hawfinch. Even better Dave was still trying to get his camera out of the bag when it flew off. It looked like bragging rights to me for the rest of the day. I would have been quite happy to go off for a bacon sandwich then, to celebrate, but Dave wanted to stay in case it returned and there was always the risk that he might end up with a better picture than me.

Getting cold and with no sight of the bird we decided to move on to Romsey where there had been reports of a small flock of Hawfinches with a supporting cast of Bramblings and Siskins. The site is on the edge of the town in a small housing estate and did not look very promising. I don't think either of us really believed it was going to deliver but it was worth a look.

Hawfinch Heaven

It was absolutely amazing. There were dozens of Hawfinches sitting in the trees and flying backwards and forwards across the site. However, getting a good picture was going to be near on impossible. Although the birds were coming down to puddles to drink they were skittish and keeping their distance. In the poor light it was going to be difficult to get the shot - and it was. Four hours, freezing cold, and a couple of hundred pictures later as  we headed back to the car I already knew that we would be returning on the next sunny day.

Tree top shot


Drinking from Puddle

Nice record shots but they do not do justice to the real colours and magnificence of the bird. At least we now know where to find Hawfinches and perhaps next time I will make the effort to photograph the Bramblings as well.

Fortunately there is always a Robin waiting about to have his picture taken.

Take my picture next

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